At the end of my 7-year-old daughter’s ballet recital, she struck a pose, kneeling on one knee, perching on the other, looking so pretty and poised before collapsing into the ballerina next to her, who subsequently fell into the ballerina next to her, sending the entire line down. It was then I fully realized my daughter’s dreams of becoming a prima ballerina would never come to fruition. Tap was a failure. Hip hop, bless her heart, was a disaster. She lacked the basic requirements of grace and rhythm. I then signed her up for soccer camp which, mercifully, she loved. In fact, she seemed to have a natural talent, a lovely combination of skill and confidence.
That fall, I signed her up for a team, not realizing until the first practice how ill-equipped I was to be a soccer mom. Nope, I didn’t get the memo outlining all of the crucial soccer mom characteristics. I did learn, however, the seven reasons I’m the worst soccer mom ever.
1. Gnats. Mosquitoes. Bees. Ants. Pretty much any insect, flying or otherwise, seemed to find its way onto the soccer fields. The coaches and other parents stared onward at the insane woman jumping around and slapping herself and the air at some invisible enemy.
2. I assign blame. I know it’s sports and all, but does her own teammate have to kick the ball so darn hard at her during practice? It’s practice for goodness sake! You shouldn’t try to take out your own teammates before a game. His family should be ashamed—surely they are a violent pack of criminals.
3. I cannot stand to see other kids push, kick or claw at my child. I know it’s sports and there will be contact (something, theoretically, my daughter’s ballet classes lacked), but the first time I saw my darling girl get knocked down on the soccer field, my husband had to restrain me from rushing to her aid and seeking revenge on the certain juvenile delinquent offender (see No. 6 above).
4. I never participated in organized sports. I played piano and guitar. I acted in plays. Musical theater? I’m your girl! Never any sports, though. And boy, does it show. In the beginning of the year, I called tryouts “auditions.” Halftime was “intermission.” It’s been a while, and I am now fully versed in the lingo, but I still don’t think the other moms have forgotten. Speaking of those other moms…
5. Soccer moms don’t hang out with each other at the game! This is so different from the tortuous hours spent talking to moms while our darling tutu-ed daughters danced behind a tiny glass window. Dance moms talk—compare, complain, whatever. But it’s talking. Soccer moms sit it their chairs and text or watch the practice, but they don’t talk to each other. Maybe it’s the size of the field. You can spread out and have lots of personal space during soccer, whereas dance moms get crammed together on a tiny bench. But after chatting the ears off of several soccer moms, only to have them scoot their chairs a bit further away from mine, I got it. Or maybe it’s just me?
6. My younger children are endlessly distracting. That baby running toward the soccer goal? She’s mine. The 6-year-old slunk down in her chair, tears running down her face, screaming she is bored, bored, bored? Yep. Mine, too. I think the crankiness comes, in part, from the heat and humidity which seem to rise out of the soccer fields. Which leads me to…
7. The sweat. Mine. Hers. The 6-year-old’s. The baby. We are all covered in sweat—more sweat than I’d ever thought possible. My hair turns in unattractive angles from all the sweat. I no longer entertain the thought of straightening my hair before Saturday morning games. I have found a really cool baseball cap that goes with my newly purchased soccer-watching attire (which now, after learning the hard way, no longer includes high heels!).
I will, however, say one good thing about the sweat: Everyone is constantly wiping sweat from their faces. It is the perfect camouflage for those times, at least once a game, when I see my girl concentrating on the ball. She is strong. She is confident. She is brave. She is exactly who she is meant to be. My heart swells and tears fall, making all the soccer mom struggles totally worth it.