My 8-year-old, Riley, just started playing soccer with her after-school program.
I have never pictured myself as a soccer mom. I was raised on musical theatre, and my oldest daughter has followed in my footsteps.
I'm also not big on sports in general. While I can appreciate the concept of teamwork, I find much more value in the performing arts, and have written papers on the advantages of including arts in schools. I'm resentful that arts programs usually get cut first, and sports are last to go. Not to mention, the cost and time and energy. So, no, I have never thought of myself as a soccer mom.
Of course, having kids means that you find yourself doing a lot of things you never expected to do. Yesterday, I attended my first soccer game.
This is not AYSO or any type of league. This is just one after-school program playing one or two other teams and there are only a handful of games. There is no scoreboard, and the coaches were junior high school students coaching 2nd and 3rd graders. There are no cleats allowed on the field. There are only 5 players on our team, and they had to take turns sitting out since the other team only had 4 players. As you can see from the photo, Riley's team shirt goes down to her knees.
Only a few parents attended, and the dads were quiet and simply waited for opportunities to cheer and clap. Our team didn't score one goal, and at half-time, Riley told me quite cheerfully that she didn't think they would win any games this season. I told her that I didn't care; I just hoped she was having fun.
At the end of the game, there was a team meeting, and then the other team was called over. After the meeting, Riley told me that even though the other team had scored goals and their team hadn't, one of the players on the other team had incessantly teased the players on her team. For that, Riley's team was given 10 points and they claimed a victory.
I thought it was so cool that good sportsmanship was rewarded. They might not win any other games, but they maintained good character to make this a real victory for them.
Maybe I can fathom being a soccer mom after all!
Originally posted on LA Moms, April 9, 2009.