Odd that my very first entry as Writing Mama revolved around my son’s disastrous soccer experiences. Along the way, I’ve blogged about my children, my writing, my life, and anything else that seems important at the time. My son enrolled in soccer for the third session, even though I kept asking him over and over if he REALLY wanted to play. Hoping he’d say, Nah. But he smiled and nodded with enthusiasm, so I paid the fee and trudged back to the field of hell.
This season, we got hit pretty hard with Hurricane Irene and other weather disasters. We missed practice for three weeks in a row and his first game was cancelled. Last night was our first practice and the first I even met his team and coach. When I picked the kids up from school, yet another dark, stormy night brewed. I happily assumed practice was cancelled and emailed the coach.
Then received an email stating practice was on, minutes before we were due on the field.
I cursed, threw my son’s cleats on, glared at my husband for getting to stay home, and raced out the door. When I arrived, there was a bunch of groups playing and I realized I had no idea who I was looking for. The field was thick with mud. Rain and wind whipped at my face. I trudged from group to group to look for my coach, hoping to recognize someone, and finally found my son’s team.
And thus, another season of soccer began.
Has my son grown since my first entry? Hell yes. Has he gotten better?
I plead the fifth.
The session was a disaster in every way possible. Besides shivering in the cold with no umbrella, I watched the new version of the Bad News Bears play soccer. As my son played defense, he decided to walk like a chicken to make the other kids laugh. Through gritted teeth, I called his name and shot him THE LOOK. He grinned back and waved.
He played tag with the other defense player and distracted them. He chatted with the assistant coach in the field as if it was social hour. He pretended to be a vampire and told this poor little boy he would “Suck his blood.” With complete horror, I called his full name (middle included) and made a cut it out gesture. He looked up at the rain and stuck his tongue out for some water, since I hadn’t brought any. When the ball came close, I screamed for him to pay attention and he looked around like awakening from a long sleep, then watched the ball roll past into the goal.
I have no idea how the coaches kept their patience. Probably because of the ridiculousness of the situation. I heard them yell different children’s names over and over, instructing them what to do while they gazed up with confused expressions. I watched balls get kicked into wrong goals, children sharing hugs instead of watching the game, and my son running after the group with no intention of getting even close to the soccer ball.
At one point, when he was told to kick the ball from out of bounds, he backed up a whole football field so he could get a running start. The expression on the coach’s face was priceless. He actually looked at me with a questioning look, but I only shrugged. Hell with it. I paid my $80 – this should no longer be my problem.
He had to pee and there was no bathroom, so we stood in the mud in the woods while he relieved himself against the frikkin snack bar.
The hell ended after an hour and a half. As we left the field, the rain stopped, the sun burst over the horizon, and a full fledged rainbow lit the skies. We ooghed and aghghed, and as I looked down at my son’s face, I laughed out loud.
I realized in that moment how much my child had grown. When we first started, he was so painfully shy, he refused to make friends or even play. He used to avoid other children at all costs – pointing to them on the playground with a stressful whine, “But there are kids there!” My shy little boy was now the class clown, with a dry wit and confidence in himself that blew me away. I held his hand, looked at the rainbow, and savored the moment.
On the way home, I gave him a list of other activities he had the chance to be involved in. Finally, his face lit up and he said, “Tennis, mommy. I like tennis.”
No way. Money galore, limited options of gyms, and another disaster just waiting to happen.
“Karate?” I suggested hopefully.
After a pause, he agreed to try.
I’m sure I’ll blog about that later.