Thursday, September 15, 2011

Soccer Mom

As I stood in the checkout line with Gemma at Target, I could hear a child wailing/whining several aisles away, "Mommy! Mommy! Moooooooooooommmmm?" I could tell from his voice that he wasn't lost, maybe just perplexed that his mother was ignoring him. Gemma, upon hearing this, looked at me and blinked. Then she stuck her thumb over her shoulder and said in a very bored voice, "Mom. That kid is calling you."

You DO know my name isn't Mom, right?

The smell of freshly mowed grass always awakens my soul and gets my blood pumping. It's the promise of morning exhilaration and afternoon exhaustion. It's the smell of a sweet, satisfying cross, dropped perfectly in front of a goal for a header, as well as the frustration of a hard-fought battle ending in loss. It's satisfaction in knowing you played a better, cleaner game than the opponent, and the guilt when you know that yellow (and maybe red...who knows) card is deserved. It's soccer season, and I love every single second of it.

This year, Donovan's soccer team gets to play on a little bit bigger field, with an actual goal (with posts, as opposed to the PVC pipe contraption), more boys, and a goalie. Also, a referee, which I shall address in a moment.

This is a picture from last year, but I love how you can see the muscles in his right leg.

It always amuses me how PHYSICAL boys play, compared to girls. I mean, it's just so dang fast and aggressive, even in mini-form, that I find myself giggling (when I'm not yelling my head off, of course). Now they get to run MORE and they're actually passing and sticking with positions. Donovan's coach has him pegged as a good sweeper. He's quick and aggressive, but he's also watchful and will drop back to defend his goal. It's kind of awesome to see his instinct take over and, with increasing frequency, be right.

This year, they need actual referees. Well, not so much "actual" as "other than the coaches." They call them "facilitators." I thought, "I could probably do it, I guess, if I have to, if nobody else will." Turns out, nobody else would. And there was a test. Which I totally NAILED, so I trotted down to the soccer office to see how I did. And, actually, there were a couple questions I wasn't sure about (having to do with who was in charge of clearing the field in the event of lightning, and so forth). My outstretched arm with test in hand was met with a, "What size shirt do you want?" Um...aren't you going to, you know, grade it?

The lady sort of shook her head, wrinkled her nose and half whispered, "That's really more of a formality." Um, ok. But actually I have a question about one of them? She looked a little annoyed and could not have sounded more bored when she said she'd try to find a coach. She came back with no coach, and the most beautiful highlighter-yellow t-shirt I've ever seen. Perfect. Just my color! She did know the answer to lightning-related questions, though, so I was set. As I left, she cautioned, "Don't let the parents give you crap!" I turned to her and said, complete with my attitude finger waving, "Oh I will NOT stand for it! I intend to bring my own red and yellow cards," and then added, because of the look on her face, "I'm KIDDING."

I even bought myself a whistle. My professionalism astounds me.

It was a lot of fun. Oh who am I to make an understatement - it was FANTASTIC! Since this is the first year the boys are doing throw-ins, and having a goalie who can do drop-kicks, I got the opportunity to give them second chances, as necessary, to try again (this is recommended by the office, btw). Afterward, parents from the other team expressed gratitude that I reminded them, by showing, full over-the-head throws. I'd like to think I would have done it anyway, but it's easy to be generous when your team is winning.

One grandpa, after chatting me up after the game, said, "So do you have the next game?" Oh no, I'm that kid's mom. We're going home! Were you fooled by my oh so official shirt? Turns out, he was. And he's my new favorite person.

Also fooled? One of my best friends. Who came out of (figurative) left field and said, " played soccer before?!" Um...yeah. And I have red hair, if you didn't know. That completely blew her away. I suppose, like Gemma, she thinks of me as just a mom.

But this is a mom with an aggressive history, and an official referee's shirt, so WATCH OUT.


wanda said...

Oh, man, it is payback time! Right all the wrongs on the field, it was what you were born to do!

Angie said...

I'm interested in watching you ref a game...I think it would be entertaining:)

Alice said...

Finn calls me Alice, more often than not.