Monday, September 14, 2009

Soccer. Balls. Son of...

Whaaat? Huh?!
The girls like to bounce a ball on the hood of my car because, catching me sleeping there, it is so flippin’ funny to watch me climb up into consciousness and figure out where I am. I am the notorious napping mom. I can sleep anywhere at any decibel level and with any kind of sensory fracas swirling around me. Breaks between games, water breaks, during games, makes no never mind to me.

I am the perfect hotel chaperone. As long as they leave me curled up and comfy, don’t leave the room, refrain from dipping my hand in warm water or painting me with Sharpie pens, they can slumber party their adolescent asses off.

On cold days (Yes, Virginia, it does get cold in Florida sometimes.) it is sweet when, sprawled nodding, drooling and possibly snoring in my soccer mom chair, the soccer community, as a whole, covers me up with a beach towel.

Wait. That could be so that I won’t further embarrass them. In part probably.

On hot days they rearrange umbrellas while I loll in a sweating fitful doze so the Florida sun doesn’t sear my glow-in-the-dark Caucasian hide right off. “Tori, your mama is so WHITE!”

The second half of the game is usually pretty exciting though, keeps me wide awake, since the sizing up is done and the two-level strategy is complete. First, Coach has got their number on the plays the other team are likely to foolishly repeat and the girls will now stick those plays hard to win. And, second, the girls have pinpointed the elbow-throwing-hook-tripping-fake-injury-flopping-cry-for-the-ref bimbos on the other team. Those chickies will now understand why you don’t mess with our girls until the last minutes of the game and then they best have a solid agreed upon walk of shame escape route.

This must be said, or it wouldn’t be an honest story.

For all their pride and dignity, the girls, mine included, do indeed know how to do all the bad, bad things on a field of play to serve up sneaky shadow hurts to mind and body of their opponents. Older sibs, school survival, or even to some degree, home life has given them some hard-shell pugilistic fighting skills to survive. They can throw down. But never are they schooled or encouraged to use these skills at soccer. They are coached impeccably and love the game. It is sanctuary, and they choose, until profoundly provoked, not to pull the bad, bad things out of the war bag. They know intimately the pain they could inflict in this full-contact sport, since by half-time in some of the more contentious matches fueled by hellish opposing parental zeal, at least two of them will have been sidelined or hurried to the ER by vicious physical insults. This is not a game for wusses.

The game is within the game then.

And when they are “on,” there is dazzling magical fake-out footwork, cheetah-like sprint break-aways to goal, hilariously witty field chatter, fantastically precise field changes in wide arcing V-shaped passes designed to run the other team into exhaustion, crosses, headers and goal kicks oh my…and smiles. Great big smiles.

And when they are “off,” and just cannot pull up the goods, they may complain a little, make a few mistakes, well up with trembling lower lips, but they learn what it is to lose gracefully. To come back next time loaded with new resolve.

The long drive back home is evenly sprinkled with tears and giggles. Sometimes we hit the nearest beach to wind down.  McDonalds or Cracker Barrel embrace, with cool, cool air conditioning and the scent of deliciously greasy food, our sweaty sunburned and stinky selves for quick roadside meals. Sometimes for me it is an entertaining diatribe from my daughter outlining just how uncool I can be, complete with solid examples of my public behavior she deems really embarrassing. To which I respond with eyes all wide and innocent, “So what’s your point?”

Ann Coulter, praying mantis that she is, can indeed sit and spin. Soccer Moms, with all our SUV-loving-sidelines-prowling-kid-dedicated-crazy-love-committed activities are doing a crapload more real stuff than she is, or will ever do, to instill courage and dedication to this generation of kids. I can’t see anyone naming a soccer sport complex or much else after her, but they might just name one after a Soccer Mom. Mark it!

1 comment:

  1. Oh the memories you resurrect...I too lived this life for 10 years. Soccer then softball. I miss it horribly, still. Thanks for the link. ;)


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