Monday, September 7, 2009

Soccer. Balls.

Ann Coulter can sit and spin! I am a card-carrying Soccer Mom and, as such, I put the full weight of my grandmother’s very potent stink-eye curse on her for co-opting my lifestyle as political fodder for her douchey attempts at national attention. Everyone, like Coulter, who thinks being a Soccer Mom means I voted for Clinton or Obama merely because they turned me on in a naughty way can just stick it. I voted for whom I voted unrelated to whether I bought into some kind of celebrity cult of personality and would like to “do” the man who was to be the Commander and Chief of this country. That’s my private business and not hers. To be totally frank, nothing icks me out more than a politician. I hold my nose and pull the lever when I vote, because they are all repulsive, incompetent and power mad. And none of the Soccer Moms I know have the time or the inclination to give a damn either.

We have our own thing. Right in our faces that no politician or pundit will ever understand: Kids to raise responsibly and prepare for the incessant assault of adult life with some small modicum of courage. End of story. How dare you? Get off our backs. Bitch.

I dig soccer, especially since my daughter kicks ass so very well on the playing field. She and her team could run down Ann Coulter’s emaciated skeletal butt, drop her, and I would  (inappropriately) celebrate the resultant red card. For the unschooled, red card means you did a bad, bad thing and must bench yourself. Oh, what a difference if this guy refereed our games.The penalty card process would be so much less painful!

Another great visual? Coulter pursued by my beloved pack of girl soccer players, her fake blonde hair, Chanel knock-off shift dress, stiletto Jimmy Choos and skinny legs flailing as she cartwheels…

But this didn’t start as a political rant. Or did it? Why did I go there? It’s coming…

Club soccer for kids is an accidental lifestyle. It so totally sneaks up. It is getting her to practice for two nights a week, suited up like an Amazon gladiator rain or shine, to perfect the arcane skill of reading her teammates’ minds and reacting effectively to push through the end result – ball in net, hurrah! It is being humbled by a Dad/Coach who does this whole coaching thing with enthusiasm and joy for free. It is waking up at the butt-crack of dawn for a tournament somewhere around 150 miles away and preparing the car to be the home-away-from-home headquarters for a weekend complete with gallons of sunscreen and Gatorade, various chairs, umbrellas, coolers, first aid kits, and so on. It is noodling MapQuest and Priceline for the best routes to the fields of battle and best deals on non-roach-infested-free-of-pimps-and- bullet-holes- in -the -ceiling -hotels.
It is fundraising. It is the knowing when that painful purple bulge makes your knee/elbow/finger/nose broken or just sprained badly, where the nearest Emergency Room is, and whether the insurance is all paid up. It is making sure all the girls get their chance to play no matter what may be obstacles at home, some of which can be heartbreakers. It is throwing down on the sidelines with crazy-beer –addled –lithium-deprived-religiously righteous (racist) parents of opposing teams and all the hilarious outcomes of those awkward skirmishes.

Tori plays defense and is the last line of resistance against full-on assault to the goalie so she takes it very seriously. No one gets by the Wall of T, and in the rare instance they do, she atones. Atones hard and fast. I get so alarmed and proud when her “mark” on the other team is a third bigger than she is. Sometimes I wish we could check birth certificates and chromosomes of these precociously developed giantesses, but whatever. She still buzzes the ball around them like a little gnat with great legs sending it back through to her mids and strikers for an attempt at a breakaway goal. It always seem to be the number nine player on each opposing team that is large enough to, when the ref isn’t looking, snag Tori, shake her like a Polaroid picture and push her to the ground. “Numbah Nine, Numbah Nine!” Tori just tucks, rolls and pops back up in a run, keeping any injury to herself until after the game, when I can freak out in a satisfying manner at the Technicolor multi-lobed bruising or bleeding cleat-induced striations where she got spiked. Get the girls together and it is like that scene in Jaws when they compare scars. “You think THAT hurt, check THIS out…!”

Our team is a standout for three reasons: They win in a big way, they lose in a big way, and they are the most colorful team in the competition, usually. Colorful is an understatement. They are every shade of passionate African American girl imaginable, feisty fiery Latinas, and a smattering of dazzling Filipinas all blended together with a minority of strong white chickies, like my daughter. Amazing variety and beauty all wrapped up in this talented group of friends and teammates. Tough too. But such a bunch of powder puffs as well, styling each other’s hair and sharing cool clothes and juicy text gossip with each other.

Coach Hugo, a brown bald Guatemalan man-angel with smiling eyes, does not mince words, either Spanish or English, when the tide needs to turn in a game. We know he is irked when he is standing with legs locked, arms akimbo in full King of Siam Yul Brynner posture shouting in espanol. When the team is winning, he sits grinning from ear to ear nodding and chuckling like Buddha. We read him and the girls do too. It is not the usual uber-dominant lockstep it’s-my -way -or -the -highway cliché Bear Bryant OC coach/team dynamic. The girls are empowered to fuss, joke, quip, and prank their Coach, but when it is game time, they respect him. When there is injustice or unfairness or intent to deliver harm to one of his players, he is “en fuego” for his girls pacing like a Mayan leopard man on the sidelines, challenging all in authority to do the right thing.

Because sometimes the right thing is not forthcoming.

Our team senses and actually hears out loud from other teams, parents of other teams, refs and even tournament organizers, that they are notorious before the fact. They hear parents from other teams postulating that they have been taught/schooled/coached to play rough. Dirty. To fight. Injure. Curse. Disrespect.

So the predominantly Caucasian refs , coaches and parents of opposing teams, and teams come loaded for bear. They announce loudly provocative little tidbits like, “You know that’s just the way they are brought up. It’s their culture to play dirty!” And even more crude, “Wow! Looks like a prison break out there on the field! ”

Nothing could be further from the truth. But the fix is in and it is open season. Funny how we are surprised every time it happens. We’d like to wish it away; hoping human beings have evolved past it but no cigar!

The team absorbs with self-control every bad call intended by misguided local power refs to keep “control” of the game. They take, with teeth gritting and escalating fear of being injured permanently, every cheap shot delivered by opposing players indoctrinated by their parents not to take any shit from this rogue thug team. We watch referees pull aside and stand face to face with our girls, lecturing them incessantly until, provoked, they utter one exclamation of discomfort or shrug in disgust and, yep, the penalty cards are displayed dramatically to keep these barbaric girls in line. Parents from the other team shout like deranged thumbs-down lead-poisoned drunken Romans in the Coliseum. “Give her a card! Give her a card!” With grim faces our beautiful, sweet-natured, proud girls hang on to their dignity best they can for teenagers and resolve to endure long enough to outwit and outplay the seething crap pile of prejudice looming over them until about half-time.

Then the gloves come off.

(To be continued...)


  1. awesomeness is bred. you have it and have past it onto tori.

  2. My kind of soccer game...I somehow picked up the art of "accidentally on purpose" fun.


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