Saturday, January 2, 2010

I Am Not A Soccer Mom

There. I said it.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a soccer mom. In fact, I wanted to be one myself. At least, I think I did. But the reality is, I am not.

Growing up, I was an only child for 12.5 years until my baby brother came on the scene in a surprising whirlwind. My parents (dad a college professor and mom a stay at home mom) were not exactly "sports people". My dad watched college football and enjoyed going to basketball games, oh and I remember going to watch him play in the church softball league. But I wouldn't exactly describe him as athletic, just one who enjoyed sports from time to time. I'd say my mom fell into the "tolerated it" category. So, needless to say, my exposure to sports and playing them as a child was limited to a summer of gymnastics lessons taught at a local gym every Saturday morning for 5 bucks a pop.

I was more rounded in other areas. I began piano lessons in Kindergarten and continued through college. I took acting classes at a community college and voice lessons from a local college student. I thrived on stage and loved being in the spotlight. Unless, of course, that spotlight fell on a gym floor. Give me a ball and I became completely inept and clueless. I loathed gym class and was relieved to learn that the gym requirement to graduate high school was a mere semester. I hated volleyball nights with the youth group at church. I sat on the sidelines and lamely cheered on whichever boy I had a crush on, while I watched him high five and give sweaty hugs to the girls that were brave and athletic enough to actually play. How jealous I was of them! I learned real quick that while boys said they wanted the cutesy girl with earrings and poufy hair (hey, it was the 90's!) and short skirts, the girls that actually got the attention were the ones that weren't afraid to throw their hair in a ponytail, get on the gym floor and talk a little smack.

So, before I ever became a mother, I promised myself that if I ever had a little princess, I was going to make it a priority to at least expose her to playing sports. Not necessarily because I wanted her to have an edge with the boys (and now that I have four princesses I can assure you that I'm even further from that desire than I ever was before!), or because I was secretly hoping to one day magically groom the Next Big Thing. But more because I didn't want her to feel completely and utterly self conscious about herself when it came to sports. I just wanted to assure that she'd be OK. Just OK at playing sports, being on a team, having a ball whiz by her head.

With that in mind, we registered Princess #1 for soccer last spring. It went about as I expected. A clump of girls, gathered around a ball, running back and forth between goals with a few haphazard and probably accidental points scored from time to time. She had a blast. She made new friends, got to see them at practice and the games, got to jump and run around outside, oh and maybe learned a few (emphasis on FEW) things about soccer.

A year has passed since then and it's quite clear that it was right to not have HUGE expectations about Princess #1's career in soccer. We've just spent the past couple months with her playing on an indoor league, and after bringing in a demoralizing 2-8 season, I'm glad to say it's over. I just don't quite get the culture I guess. Yesterday, I sat next to a family from the opposing team. With voices so throaty it could only mean that they either A) go to so many games and coach from the sidelines at every one, B) smoke several packs of Marlboro a day, or C) both - they yelled and screamed at their daughter on the field. In between their exclamations they discussed their son's eligibility to play football, what position he should play, whether or not he would be allowed to move up an age bracket, etc. etc. etc. He was five.

It just seemed a world away to me. We put Princess #1 in soccer so she could have an experience, whatever it happened to be. We had no expectations other than she have fun. Would I feel differently if she turned out to be a whiz kid at soccer? Would I be there, hoarse myself from yelling at her to go after the ball? Did she turn out to not have soccer chops, simply because we were more laid back about it? I guess I'll never know. And I'm ok with that. Really. We did what I promised myself we'd do. We exposed Princess #1 to a sport. Hopefully when the kids on the playground decide they want to play soccer, or kickball, she'll feel confident enough to get out there with them. That's all I want. There is a place in this world for those soccer moms, like the one that sat next to me yesterday. Without them, we'd never have the Next Big Thing. And I'm happy to let someone else be that mom.


  1. I am SOOOO not a soccer mom. I also tried being a t-ball mom this Summer. That really sucked too. ;)

  2. I really enjoy the soccer thing. Baseball and basketball didn't have the same atmosphere - but all the families piled on the soccer sidelines, siblings running amok in neighboring fields, LOVE it!


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