I believe those were my exact words after living a childless lifestyle for forty years when welcoming my first and only child into the world. And, I should have named her, “Mea Culpa.”
If there is one thing I’ve learned from being a parent and from listening to Justin Bieber, it is, “never say never.” I said I’d never breast feed and I nursed until she could say, “boob.” I said I’d never use the television for a babysitter until the nearest family members were two hours away and I trusted SpongeBob more than some stranger to keep my child company while I did chores.
And, we said we hope our child wants to play a sport and we hope it’s not soccer. We come from a long line of softball, baseball and basketball people. We’re mostly adverse because don’t know the rules of the game.
That is until our child said, “Mom and dad, I really want to play soccer.”
“I really want to play,” those are magic words to parents. All we want is for our child to enjoy herself and get some exercise as long as it only takes a few hours a week, doesn’t interfere with family activities and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Right?
Our first soccer game was last Saturday. The biggest fear was not our child’s performance, but being able to find a parking place. It may be easier to find a closer spot at an amusement park. As we navigated the sea of children draped in brightly-colored nylon uniforms, knee socks and toe-less sandles, I said, “This is a zoo.” Only for my daughter to respond, “I love the zoo!”
We finally located the correct field a midst the twenty and sat our comfy lawn chairs along the sidelines. Already, this was looking promising because we weren’t parking our behinds on cold metal benches. My husband spent the first half of the game watching out for soccer hooligans, searching for the kegs of English lager and listening for the annoying buzzing of Vuvuzela horns.
I have to say, we were very pleasantly surprised. The game had officials – which basketball and softball did not have for the younger girls. All the kids on the field were fully engaged in the game. No picking dandelions, no doing gymnastics on the field and the girls even tucked in their long jerseys as opposed to tying them in a knot with a hair band as is the case in basketball. Watching children who are normally sweet and quiet in the classroom rip it up on the soccer field also had its guilty pleasure.
The fact that we don’t know the rules of soccer actually did us a favor. Our lack of knowledge prevented us from turning into those psycho screaming parents on the sidelines. Not that I would have any experience with that. After my daughter’s first basketball game last year, my husband nicknamed me, “Shooter”, after Dennis Hopper’s character in the movie “Hoosiers” when he ran onto the basketball court in a drunken rage. Someone had to make sure the coaches were teaching the girls the difference between defense and offense.
Was it possible that we actually liked soccer after all, making us a soccer mom and a soccer dad?
As for becoming a chubby bleached blonde, I at least take pride in the fact that I get a good dye job and I haven’t driven while holding a Big Mac in my hand since the late 80’s. As for the mini van, we’ve traded in our SUV for a smaller sports sedan that gets better gas mileage. Now the only thing I’m worried about is accidentally shutting my big ass in the small door. So if you see a white sports car with a Manchester United decal in the back window with something dragging on the ground from the driver’s door, it’s likely not the belt from my coat.
© 2012 Terri Spilman