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Friday, August 7, 2009

Soccer Mom Failure

I fail with a big fat F.

On Sunday, a couple of friends in our ward were talking about their boys starting soccer. Soccer is something The Chief really wanted Buddha to get into soon since it's something he played and loved as a Junior Bagel. So I asked the ladies if they had a number or e-mail address of someone I could contact to see if I could get Buddha into the league last minute. They did. And I released a scatter-shot e-mail to all the administration, coaches, and organizers that I could. I got a few e-mails back that were hopeful and helpful, and I was eventually connected with the lady in charge of kids under six. She said they had one opening left on one team. Bless my lucky stars and hooray for paying tithing! ;0) Buddha's new coach-to-be contacted me and told me about the special "drills and skills" practice that was going to be held for all the under-sixers this evening. I asked him about uniforms, cleats, etc., but never got a response.

We headed down to the fields late this afternoon and were confronted with organized chaos. Soccer-ball-dribbling tots, unruly cowlicks bouncing along in the wind, scattered everywhere, moving everywhere, bumping into each other and caterwauling all the while. It was glorious. And intimidating for Buddha. He looked thoroughly perplexed and more than a little dubious.

And now begins the story of my greatest shame.

First, we got there late. Typical me. I can survive this one.

Second, all the little bleaters were dressed in the finest of soccer apparel and equipment: jerseys, cleats, shin guards and knee-high socks. Typical California. Not a huge blunder in my book. Buddha can survive this one. Besides, he was wearing his speedy tennis shoes and orange shorts. Orange is his favorite color. So . . . yeah!

But then, as I watched these little sheep roaming all over the field with their soccer balls. A horrid realization dawned on me. Their soccer balls! I had no soccer ball for Buddha. Fail. Big fail. I brought my son to his first soccer practice - SOCCER practice - with no soccer ball. Ack! I marched up to a red-shirted sideliner and asked, "Are you in charge?" "Uh. Yeah. Sure." "Okay, well, I don't have a ball for my son. Can he join in without one?" "Well, he kinda needs one for warm-up since it revolves around the ball." Beaten and ashamed, my heart swelling with sympathy for my kid, the mommy-induced odd man out, I retreated to the sideline and did some quick thinking followed by some quick acting. I put on my happy face and turned to Buddha. "Let's stretch while they are warming up with their balls." Ah blessed oblivion. One year older and I don't think I could have pulled this off. We twisted and turned, reached, stretched, and ran around each other to warm up our muscles sans soccer ball. (So there, exclusive balls-only soccer coach!). Once they split into smaller groups, I was hoping a solution would present itself. Buddha was starting to realize that he was the only kid without a ball. The coaches in his little group had the kids start by dribbling around an imaginary track outlined by a few neon cones. With my happy face pasted determinedly into place, I encouraged Buddha to run around the track with his cohorts, ball or no ball. (I was ready to dance a jig if it would convince him that all was well and he was still cool despite his mommy's ignorance). His face soured. I saw a meltdown coming on. But he surprised me, his soccer mom failure. He bucked up and begrudgingly joined in, whimpering a bit over his lack, and when a different coach spotted his need, he was supplied with a soccer ball of his own. Which he loved, and kicked all over the field, even when the coaches were desperately trying to herd the kids into one, confined area. That's my free-spirited (translate: stubborn) son for ya. After he got his ball, Buddha did brilliantly, proving that four-year-olds really do live in their own special world, kicking his ball out when he was supposed to keep it in, diving onto it with hands outstretched after the coaches said "No hands!", and pouting at me when he "got out" during King of the Mountain. Today we had a conversation about winning during which I assured him that winning doesn't matter and he only needed to try his best to make his mommy and daddy proud. He replied matter-of-factly, "But I like to win." Right. Don't think we got anywhere with that conversation. :P

I failed, but the league saved the day, keeping me in the running for the Coolest Soccer Mom of the Year Award.

Maybe it's the Honda Element. I hear you have to drive a van to be a legitimate soccer mom. Chief, I need a minivan so I can pass my class and redeem my coolness factor for our firstborn!

Note: When commenting, please remember to refer to my family members by their pseudonyms to help protect their privacy. Thank you!


miriam said...

favorite line: mommy-induced odd man out. i love it. i also loved this story. and i'm afraid that in a few years, this is going to be me: big, fat soccer mom failure.

oh well. i didn't care to be all that much to begin with.

Lizzie said...

"i didn't care to be all that much to begin with."


However, while I don't care what my own cohorts think of me, or if I win the CSMYA, I do still feel badly that for 10 minutes, my child was wondering why his mommy was completely ill-prepared for his first soccer practice. I could see the betrayal in his eyes (okay, I might be overreacting just a bit).

Too bad we can't always earn an A+ from our children. :(

Katelyn said...

Yes, to be a true *soccer-mom* you need a mini-van ;-) but seriously, I would wouldn't have thought that I need to provide a ball for soccer. your taking the kids to soccer practice, don't they have balls? I probably would have arrived the same way!

Yours, Sincerely said...

I disagree. You can't possibly be a failure because you demonstrated persistence and a possitive attitude until a solution presented itself. The ultimate teaching moment, & you did great!!!!!!

Krista said...

That was an excellent story! If it had been me, it would have been three times worse, in that I would have gotten lost on the way, told the first coach what I thought of him and his coaching skills (and probably be asked to leave), and one way or another I would've had a tantrum on my hands at some point during the hour. I have high aspirations of being a Real Live soccer mom someday, but maybe you have to have sons? We are not-so-secretly jealous of your boys.

Lizzie said...

Thank you, Yours, Sincerely! I appreciate your happy twist on this depressing tale. :0)

Krista, WOW! You are such a tiny thing I wouldn't have ever expected this kind of spunk and sass out of you! :P We love our boys, but we hope to have at least one girl someday. So know that I sigh over your posts and pictures too. :0)

Freckles said...

Haha! That story is hilarious!! I think we're all destined to fail at our kids first ever sports practice.

I did the same thing with Kai and t-ball! We show up 1st practice, everyone is in a uniform, not Kai. And I forgot to bring a ball, a mitt, and a bat! Ooops! No one had extras either, it was a terrible first practice!

Lizzie said...

Freckles, thanks for making me feel better . . . MUCH better. (Just kidding!). :0)

Sara said...

ah ha ha! I love the line "so there exclusive balls only soccer coach"!! Way to be balls out you soccer mom you!