Monday, September 21, 2009

I Love the Smell of Soccer in the Morning

It's been a long time since I've written about the trials and tribulations of being a soccer mom. There's something quite unique about being a parent of a child that is participating on a sports team. Moms and dads who have not yet experienced the stresses of yanking on shin guards, yelling at your kids to hurry up, all while holding your coffee mug so you don't spill a drop have no idea about the exhilaration of getting to the game on time, smelling the grass, and hearing the obnoxious cheers of parents as they verbally lead their kids down the field.

I confess, that last one would be me.

I try to keep quiet at games, let the coach do his job, but I get so involved in the game that I can't seem to help myself from screaming when a little black and white checked ball approaches a big, white net. Again, holding tight to my Starbucks cup, I manage to jump up and down, practically shrieking for Volcano to "Kick it kick it kick it KICK IT!!" Even to myself I sound annoying, so imagine how I must sound to the surrounding spectators. Although, I do notice I'm not the only one screaming. Hopefully I blend into the crowd of insane fans on the sidelines.

I have heard some pretty outrageous "cheering" from my standpoint. Volcano's team, wearing green, was barreling down the field. One dad from the opposing team yelled, "Throw an elbow! Steal the ball!" Nice. Great way to teach sportsmanship and fair play.

One mother (again from the opposing side), yelled, "Get him, Connor! GET HIM!" Shouldn't she be yelling at Connor to "Get it"? It meaning the ball? We're here to play soccer, kicking the ball into the net, right? This isn't a personal vendetta against little boys in green jerseys.

When another boy missed a goal, allowing the other team to score, one mom yelled to her son, "You should've gotten that! That was yours!" Wow. Way to make the kid feel better. Did he really need that bit of constructive criticism, right then and there?

Just this past weekend I heard a coach yell, "Shake it off! Toughen up!" to one of his players. The little boy had been accidentally kicked in the groin., and he clutched his family jewels, fighting back tears. And that was the best the coach could do to comfort the 6-year-old? I wondered if I should go over there and kick him in his "soccer balls"; see how he feels? As the tears stream down his face, I would tell him to "Toughen up!" (Don't worry... I didn't.)

I knew my son's coach was the best when Volcano (who I believe I've told you is not the most aggressive, competitive athlete out there) was standing on the sidelines, just watching the game in front of him progress with limited interest and extreme caution. During this certain play, I watched (with much frustration, I will admit) as Volcano bounced around the group, never approaching the ball. "Get in there!" I yelled from the sidelines. "C'mon! Get in there!"

The other team scored, and I sighed in exasperation. Then I heard Volcano's coach cheer him on in a way I should have. "Way to stay open, buddy! Good job!"

Way to stay open. Was that what Volcano was doing? Probably not. But it was a great way for the coach to support his player's decision to observe rather than participate at that moment.

Way to stay open. What great advice. What a great perspective. What a great lesson for me.


Dad Stuff said...

Very positive. Sweet Pea likes to stay open a lot too.

patti d. said...

SO glad to see your "Soccer Saga" is back! These seem to be the best stories you have!!

patti d. said...

SO glad to see your "Soccer Saga" is back! These seem to be the best stories you have!!

georgia said...

"Way to stay open." What a great positive comment. My son is a grass-picker at soccer games too -- I wouldn't have thought of that!