This past Monday night kicked off the start of the new soccer season. My son was thrilled to have been drafted by the same coach he had last fall. You may recall I had a rough start with him last season with the whole orange slices vs. bananas debacle designating me a Soccer Mom Failure. So much that in his introduction email to parents this time around he came right out and said "orange slices only!" Okay, dude, let it go!
All fruit debates aside, I actually have an amazing amount of respect for him and all (well, most) youth sports coaches. He does a great job of motivating and encouraging the kids sans veins popping out of his forehead. Plus, it helped when last season he sent me an email saying how thrilled he was to have my son on his team and praising him for being a role-model and leader to the other teammates. He even went so far as to say he wished he had eleven of him on the team. Fine, after comments like that, the banana halves are water under the bridge.
I'll admit, though, there was definitely an adjustment period on my part where I had to learn to be a team sport mom after five years as a karate mom, a very individual activity. My goal was and still is to be the kind of soccer mom that doesn't stress over rushed dinners, the kids finishing homework in the car on the way to the fields, and one who does not complain about long, hot afternoons in the Florida sun.
I ended up having an amazing season watching my son be part of what is sure to be the best recreational youth soccer team ever assembled - and one that will never be duplicated. It's not that they were the most skilled, they just all clicked with each other. An absolutely fabulous group of boys.
Monday night, armed with a new folding spectator chair, I headed off to get my first glimpse of our new team. The obstacle was I had to get last season's "dream team" out of my head. The chances of having such an EPIC team again who suffers only one regular season loss is unimaginable. With such a victorious season, it was easy for me to keep my composure.
The playoffs were a different story and definitely tested my sportsmanship conduct. I passed the test.....but barely!
Down 3-0 to the last seeded team, I turned to my dad seated next to me and said, "I think I have to leave." Like seriously, I was nearly in tears, heart-broken over the score, the team's performance, and my son's crushed spirits. That's right, folks - I ALMOST got up and left my son's soccer match. Okay, I didn't - I managed to stay glued to my seat realizing how absolutely wrong it would be to leave.
For someone who was an extremely patient teacher, you get me in a sports situation and the competitive nature in me takes over. And while it is cute to watch five and six-year-olds completely ruin the sport of soccer, 12-year-olds with equally poor skills aren't quite as cute. Before you send me hate mail, let me clarify by saying that I never publicly criticized players, coaches, or referees. (Does in my head count?) Only once did I forget where I was and yelled "OH, COME ON!" to which even my 83-year old father laughed and pretended not to know me.
As we get ready to head off to our second practice, I remind myself of a few personal "rules" for this season. First, to err is human. Second, acceptance of the first rule will help me stay off blood pressure medication. And, third, who cares how messy they are, just bring the orange slices.
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