As the mother of a future six children, with Speck due in January, I feel such pangs of responsibility when soccer signups are passed around. I manage to stifle them most of the time. I almost always do.
I dutifully fill out four forms in 3 age groups and with a small inaudible whimper write out a check for soccer fees. Then I ponder who has outgrown their cleats, shin guards, and soccer socks from last year. After that little task is sorted out, I begin praying that the teams will not have soccer practice all on the same night, on different fields.
Last year we were at the soccer fields Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings. On the 100* days, I felt trapped in a humid purgatory, but on days with lovely weather, it was enjoyable to have an hour or two to sit outside and enjoy a little down time. Half- frozen Crystal Light, melting in my bottle, always supplying me with a fresh blast of chill... a Reader's Digest Condensed Books volume of 5 novels in my hand, a comfortable chair. And lots of children to play with my irresistible toddler who wanted entertaining. Who could ask for more on a sunny summer day?
Despite my strong powers of resistance to the requests for parents to sign up for coaching soccer, I powered through those application forms for all the children. But they got me, got me I tell you, when they sent email pleas for coaches for both my 7 and 9 year old daughter's teams.
I might have volunteered my husband, were I quicker on my feet. But that would end any chances of having ice cold Crystal Light brought to me. And I'm pregnant. In the summer.
So I took the only avenue available to me. I volunteered myself as coach, as long as it was the youngest group available (they're less critical), and that it was my daughter's team. Imagine, I might have accidentally signed myself up for the one night my children had off of soccer. That wouldn't do.
As a postscript, I told the soccer director that my husband would assist me. When your husband jumps to the erroneous conclusion that he's coaching, alone, the older children's soccer team, he quickly is relieved to find out he's assisting for the 7 year old's team. Whew. He took that well. He usually does. And he did volunteer to coach 3rd and 4th grade basketball a few years ago, when in fact they called me on the telephone to discuss my team with me. He assumed they were calling for him and that I volunteered him.
We received the team uniforms recently. They should be a turquoise blue hit with the kids tonight. They have white shoulders with black designs on them. Very cool looking for 7 year olds. Black drawstring soccer shorts and matching turquoise soccer socks rounds out the uniforms. Nice. The kids will like them.
Somehow we ended up with 9 boys and 2 girls on our team. It's a nice mix, although a little light on estrogen. But I really like playing soccer with a bunch of little kids, so this is going to be fun! We have such a variety of players on our team which warmed my heart. We have a chubby boy with developmental disabilities who has such tremendous enthusiasm and just loves that he gets to play soccer for the first time this year. We have a sweet, shy, blonde haired boy who has never played soccer before and is the first I've seen to fall all over himself, but I think he's coming back for more. We have several little David Beckham wannabees who keep telling me that they've been playing since they were 5, and now they're almost 9. But they still laugh and squeal as we play my version of Soccer monster with one of my 11 year old sons playing the attack monster, trying to steal their soccer ball. We have one tall soccer loving girl, and one tiny little pixie of a soccer playing girl (mine), and it's a good mix. I just need to work on my crowd control techniques a little better. My husband, I may have mentioned, is hearing impaired and wears at least one hearing aid daily. So convenient to turn those puppies off!
There is one boy with a hyphenated first name (a testimony that his mother is indecisive?) who will not be quiet. Ever. Jonathan-Michael might entice me to bring duct tape so we can get through the game without me pointing to the time out bench. Just kidding. But really, he talks as much as all six of my children. I know the one in the womb has things to say, I can just tell he has opinions on the Thai sweet chile garlic sauce I've been dowsing my food with. More. That must be it. But truly, I have to get Jonathan-Michael to be quiet so we can give directions to the team. Repeatedly. I didn't find my whistle until after Tuesday's practice.
Besides having a great time playing soccer at my appropriate skill level, 2nd grade, I'm getting good exercise running up and down the field, and appreciating my own children a wee bit more. I mean, I knew they were usually good children, but the peace and quiet of only 5 children in the car on the way home makes me realize I don't have a child named Jonathan-Michael in my family.
Bring on the bruises! Bring on the gatorade. Bring on the popsicles of defeat and the popsicles of victory. It's soccer season!