My Life As a Soccer Mum

My immediate response upon arriving at the soccer fields yesterday was to cuss my wife, who was at work, for managing to avoid the one weekend the kids were playing, judging by the smell, on freshly blood & boned grass.  Because of the foul stench my kids spent the vast majority of their time complaining about having poo on their shoes and then trying to scrap it off on my jeans.This is the first year we’ve enrolled our youngest kids into sport. We asked the kids what sport they wanted to do this year and Miss7 said gym, Master6 said he wanted to be a Pokemon Master and Miss4 chose ballet. I don’t know why we asked. No two of our children have ever chosen the same things under any circumstances, whether it be Sunday night movie or breakfast spread. So after much deliberation we went for the middle ground and signed all three up for soccer.

Master6 (green shirt) in one of the few moments he had his hands out of his pockets.
Of prime consideration this year were the purse strings – for less money than it would cost to enrol Miss7 alone into gymnastics we signed up three kids to soccer.
Unfortunately, though, it hasn’t been a universally popular decision.
Little Miss4, for example, was young enough to be in squirts this year. Since the second week I’ve had to bribe her with hotdogs and sour sweets to get her to take off her tutu and join us in the car. All season she’s had this embarrassing mantra-isque thing going on whereby every time she kicks the ball she mumbles, “boring.” Only time she got excited about squirts was in one exercise where they had to spin around before kicking the ball and she got to execute some delightful pirouettes.
Of the three, Master6 is the one who genuinely enjoys his Saturday morning of sport. Although we’re never altogether sure he’s going to play soccer when the game kicks off. At the beginning of the season Master6 had a signature move which involved adopting a karate stance for the kick off and yelling catchy warcries at the opposition, like “We’re gonna kill you!”Fortunately we’ve managed to talk Kung Fu Beckham down from treating each game like street fight.

This week Master6 seems to have developed a new move whereby he jumps at the ball, swings his foot in an upward arch while tossing his head back, inevitably missing the ball entirely, nearly topples to the ground before catching his balance at the last second with a beautifully executed 360 degree spin. By this stage the ball is generally in the net and the opposing team is jumping up and down and high fiving each other.

The other thing he does now is to play the whole game with his hands in his pockets. While he assures me he only does this because it’s cold no one else on the field ever seems to have an issue with the weather. I seem to recall his older brother spent much of his teens ‘keeping his hands warm’ in his pockets.  They grow up so fast, don’t they?

Master6 is a lot more into soccer than his sister, although they’ve both scored goals during the season. Miss7 managed to score from a defending position. Unfortunately it was an own goal, but it was the first time in the season she made contact with the ball, so I was torn whether to praise her or not. On the field, my sweet Miss7 isn’t so much a defender as an obstacle to be circumvented. It’s not that she doesn’t try while she’s on the field, she just doesn’t try to play soccer.

This week Miss7 spent much of her game time playing shadow puppets with her hair. She nearly kicked the ball on one occasion – racing up to it in an uncharacteristic moment of focus and burst of speed – but stopped short mere inches from the ball as though she had no idea what to do with it now she’d caught it. More in character was the thirty seconds after the game where she stood statue still in the midfield staring at the clouds before realizing everyone was going home.

I’m probably the only parent in G-town who would be happy for his girl to have nil game time. All season I’ve wanted to ask her coach to just let her stand there on the sideline in the bright yellow jersey looking like she’s part of the team but without any chance she’ll singlehandedly lose the game.

Master6 looking for shade, his hat being one of only a number
of things he forgot  to bring with him, like his waterbottle & nunchucks
Afterwards an announcement was made there would be regular training sessions over summer for anyone who wanted to practice – this was met with thunderous cheers from the kids.
Then the coach said next week would be the final game for the season, at which point my daughter air punched the sky and yelled, “Yeah!!” all by herself.
Miss7 showing her Mum how excited she is about the season coming to a close.
So I think we’ve learnt our lesson this year that you can’t put a square peg in a round hole and there are some things we just have to suck it up and spend the money on. Despite the cost I think next year we’ll be enrolling Miss7 into gymnastics after all.As for Miss4, well gymnastics is a bit like ballet, isn’t it?


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