Sunday, March 14, 2010

On being a soccer mom

It was nearly 7 years ago that we bought our minivan. You should have heard the snickers when our friends and familys heard the news. The guffaws. The doubled-over-laugh-till-you're-crying. I kept saying in our defense that with a baby on the way, we needed to have one car that had 4 doors AND air conditioning. And it was a bargain, thanks to a tornado that hit the car lot. But I digress...

When we got the minivan, we endured comment after comment about me becoming a soccer mom. "Hey, I'm gonna get you one of those soccer ball decals!" Yeah, funny. Hadn't heard that 50 times in the past week already.

Well.... Fast forward 6 years plus some months, and I took the plunge. We never played team sports in my family. We don't tend to be a physically coordinated lot, nor are we particularly social by nature. But Liv had been itching to do some sort of organized activity, and I had just recently had a conversation with a park mama about the social skills kids can learn from team sports. Things like working together toward a comman goal, losing with grace, stretching their sense of their own abilities - how could any respectable mama deny her child this experience.

And so we signed Liv up to play soccer this spring. In place of snickers and chortles and eyeball-rolling, our friends and family have become Liv's own little cheering section. For the first game we had my mother, my father, my father-in-law, my sister and her husband, and my dear friend Summer. And of course Tony and me. All to cheer for Liv and her little soccer team as they ran around on a field, running after the ball and playing a game that looked only vaguely like soccer.

There were cheers. There were atta girls. There were the urges to "Get in there, girl!" and "Kick it hard!". There were also quick with a "Nice try!" when the foot didn't necessarily make contact with the ball. And when it was all over, they were of course all ready to give her a hug and tell her what an awesome soccer player she was.

I know that by the end of "soccer season" I'll be ready to have my Saturdays back, but for right now I am totally diggin' this whole soccer mom thing. It's not about my kid being the best on the team (she's not, but she's not the weakest player either), or about keeping score, or about bragging rights with the other mamas. It's about my little girl running around out there on the field, taking chances, doing her best, and knowing she's a got a cheering section ready to back her up. After all, that's what life is all about, no?


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