If you have ever met me, then I guarantee the words “soccer mom” would be the last to ever cross your mind. I went to art school, I am super-duper nerdy, and most folks have described me as a homestead or hippy-dippy mom. But now that my kid has joined our town’s sports rec roster of fall fun, I’m a proud soccer mom.
Every Saturday morning, I schlep my entire family to the town rec center so that we can all watch my oldest child learn how to dribble and kick. All around me were different moms doing different things. There was the mom who sits in the chair, quietly scrolling through her Facebook feed. There was the mom who was the volunteer coach, screaming at kids and pissing off the other moms. There was the PTA mom who was mingling with her PTA mom friends.
And there was me.
I’m the mom who cheers loudly for all the kids, not just mine. These kids are all in kindergarten through second grade and are in the beginning stages of figuring out who their friends are, how to tie shoes, and that the giant net is a goal and not a secret hideout, as a few boys pretended it was last week.
I’m the mom who gets excited about bringing cool snacks for the team, even though it isn’t required (and probably annoys some of the other moms). I show up with a backpack filled with snacks, Band-Aids, extra water, baby wipes, and sunscreen. No one ever asks for these things, but I come prepared.
I’m the mom who tries to meet and mingle with the other moms (even the quiet ones) because I genuinely want to get to know the parents of my child’s friends. It’s in my motherly genetic code to be nosey, so why not use this opportunity to meet the parents?
I’m also the mom who has zero filter and will not put up with obnoxious parents yelling at the coaches. You know what? Fuck that noise. These coaches are volunteers, and these kids are too small and too unskilled to justify parents running around taking issue with how games are run. So calm the hell down.
And I’m the mom who has zero problem telling overzealous coaches who think pee wee soccer is an appropriate time to yell at kids where they can shove their damn whistle. Worse than obnoxious entitled parents who think their special snowflakes deserve more time with the ball are the parents who volunteer to coach and treat it like a pro league. No one cares that much.
I’m also the mom who happily rallies around a kid who missed the goal and is obviously broken up about it. These kids are little and learning, so why not cheer every single one of them on? I’m not saying we have to pass out the hotly contested participation trophies, but I think we can we all agree to cheer on all kids, right? Their efforts and teamwork matter.
I’m the mom who tells my kid (and probably yours too) to simmer down when they start ragging on other kids about speed and skill and who has the coolest cleats. This is a group of kids learning how to be part of a team, to work together, and to demonstrate good sportsmanship. And sure, friendly competition is one thing, but being a little punk is another.
So there you have it, I’m a proud soccer mom. I love the game, and I love the kids — yours and mine. You can find me on the sidelines chatting up other moms, cheering on both teams, and protecting the idea that sports can be a great way to teach our kids how to be respectable, responsible little people who can learn to believe in themselves just as much as we believe in them.