The forecast for this weekend is “pouring rain”. And that is what I expected it to be, because it’s also the weekend of our first soccer game.
When I was a kid, I dabbled in sports. I played soccer in fourth and fifth grade. Most people expected me to be good at volleyball and basketball due to my height and disproportionately long arms (I wasn’t). By high school, I had given up on most athletic ventures. Being just a little bit awkward was the game I excelled at.
My husband will chuckle when I insist, “I was sporty! I rode horses!”
“The horses were sporty, Tara. You were just along for the ride.”
Hmph. Okay then.
I think that because I’m not a natural athlete – nor very inclined to be competitive when it comes to throwing balls over/in/through/around stuff – I didn’t foster that drive in my children. “Oh, you don’t want to kick this ball around the grass aimlessly? Well, okay then. I think that’s probably a wise idea. Let’s go draw or play imagination.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Suburble spent most of his childhood hitting balls with various sizes of sticks. Baseball, hockey, golf… he loves the competition. We were sitting on the couch and I was incessantly blabbing on about Who-said-what-to-who-and-what-do-we-think-of-that? while the screen flashed with pictures of men leaping about on skates.
Mr. Suburble looked at me. “Sometimes… I wonder how on earth I married someone who doesn’t like sports.”
“Yeah. Bad choice there. Okay… so what do you think about redecorating this room? Yes?”
When our daughters demonstrated an organic interest in team sports this year, we both looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. We were willing to give it a try.
We were ignoring the fact that you have to sign up for an entire season, without really having tried the sport at all. We were also ignoring that you have to buy all of the equipment prior to the first practice. Finally, we were definitely turning a blind eye to the fact that our children haven’t played these sports before, and that there are going to be some super-intense parents in the wings that might scare us just a teensy bit.
Lucy had her first soccer practice this week. She had her cleats, her shin guards, and a smile that spread from ear to ear. I decided to muffle my typically over-eager-mommy-mentality, and I sat on the sidelines, trying not to be involved. I didn’t want her to see me as an easy-out if things got hard.
And she played. She ran and leapt and kicked and at one point, seemed to be running in place, just to show her exuberance.
But every time she ran back to me to grab a sip of water, she’d sigh,”When is this going to be OVER!?!? It’s so LOOOOOONG.”
Errm…. you’re not even halfway through, child. Get back on the field.
As practice wrapped up, we headed to the car, Lucy’s cleats making a satisfying “click, clack” noise on the sidewalk. “I don’t know if that was fun, mom.”
Oh no. This isn’t how this is supposed to go.
“It’s only the first practice, Lu. We have to try it a few more times before we make up our mind.”
In the car, she let out a few tears. It was an emotional overload and she had to get it out. “Moooooom…… I think I’d rather go to WORK than go back to soccer practice!
“They were telling me, ‘Let’s go! Let’s go!’ And you know what, mom?!?! I was already going! I was going as fast as I could!”
Her sniffles and snuffles over the horrors of being coached eventually subsided, and she stared out the window for the rest of the ride home.
I didn’t know what to say. I’m the karate-class drop out. My parents made a deal with me that I could drop out of what I perceived to be a militant school of push-ups and sadness if I paid them back for the enrollment. After Mr. Suburble stopped laughing at my tale of IOU woes, he said, “Well, you can’t make Lucy earn back her soccer money. She’d be in debt to us for years!”
We’re not giving up. It’s only been one practice and just because Lucy was resistant to being coached – well, it actually seems like she was more offended than anything – doesn’t mean that the season is over.
Our first soggy game is tomorrow, and we’re going to head out there, umbrellas and hot teas in hand. And we’ll figure this out. I can’t let my athletic reluctance colour their experiences.
But man, this is so different from art class.