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!