My kids are playing soccer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. I'm one minivan away from becoming one of THOSE MOMS, the kind I swore I would never ever be.
But no, don't worry. I will never, ever drive a minivan. To me, it's a matter of principle, and I know how ridiculous this all sounds because I know the third row of seats and extra trunk space is so very convenient, not just for soccer but cello and other large musical instruments. Many of my friends drive minivans, and I'm talking about people I know well and love dearly and have the utmost respect for. But me? I just can't go there.
So anyway, both of my kids are doing soccer this fall and so help me, they love it. They love it because it's fun and every practice and game is an opportunity to run around with their friends and the coaches are wonderful, supportive dads who emphasis playing as a team and learning skills and Not Keeping Score. I'll be damned if both of them aren't getting rather good at it. Notice I said kind of good, not great; still, this happens when you like something and practice it diligently.
Daniel has always been fast and assertive and competitive, so I am not surprised that he had a steep and quick learning curve in this game. Anya's the surprise, though. She is most definitely not assertive in her personality, but there is a deep-seated determination in her that has been playing out in a big way this fall soccer season. Plus, she is a really good runner, which helps a lot. (I look forward to when she's old enough to join Girls On The Run.)
I love to watch them play. I love to watch them play. They are fast and confident and in control, things I never was at that age. Actually, I was a pretty fast runner, but since it was the 1980s and I was a girl and shy and not physically assertive in the least, not a single person encouraged me to play soccer or any other sport. I tried soccer when I was 5, but being a shy child with no sense of physical competition, I didn't see the point of chasing the ball down the field when everybody else seemed more determined to get there first. Team sports did not suit me.
By the time I was old enough for a track or cross country team, I had long decided that I was not an athlete, so joining with one of those teams didn't even cross my mind. Now I run 4.5 miles 4-5 days every week, something I never dreamed of doing two decades ago.
Anya's final practice of the fall season was this evening. Her coach thought it would be fun to have an informal parents vs. kids scrimmage to round off the season. I barely know the rules of the game: ball, goal, no hands, something about corner kicks, that's about it. Anyway, since I was one of the few parents who showed up for practice without younger kids to attend to, I didn't have much choice but to join the scrimmage.
And guess what? I still suck at soccer. I am no better now than 30 years ago when I first tried it. Mostly, I hung out at the end of the field "playing defense," aka "watching." The one time the ball came my way, it was being chased by a clump of five-year-old children all wearing cleats, so I simply shrieked and jumped out of the way. (I still think that was a smart move. Those kids are fast.)
I'm proud that my kids are [kind of] good at soccer. I'm glad they're enjoying it. I admit that I hope their interests move on before it gets competitive and risky (the concussion thing FREAKS ME OUT), but for now I'm just glad they have this opportunity.
I'll still never drive a minivan.