Apr 16 2007

Our First Soccer Game (or, I Make A Lousy Soccer Mom)

Published by at 10:18 am under daily,kids

We started Ethan in soccer this spring. When we first told him, a month or so before it started, he was adamantly opposed. He gave no reason why, but then one day he said, “No, mommy. I’m going to be A WORKER MAN.” ‘Worker man’ is always his preferred career path when discussing what he wants to be when he grows up. Somehow, I think he believed that we were picking his career path in life by enrolling him in soccer.

We were pretty sure that when he experienced soccer, he’d get straightened out and love it. Stubborn as he is, he adamantly insisted that he WAS NOT going to like soccer, and at his first practice, even though he ran around playing the soccer games his coach devised with glee, climbed into the car at practice’ end declaring that he had NO FUN WHATSOEVER. Until his daddy said, “oh, I guess you don’t want any cake then..” and which point he made an about face. He hasn’t looked back since.

James and I wondered aloud whether they actually knew which way to kick the ball. Ethan proved to me during last Tuesday’s practice that he at least knew this much of the game. His coach divided up the team and pitted them against each other. While not too interested in getting into the swarm of kids around the ball, he showed that he at least did not want the other side to score a goal. He ran over to his own goal which was marked by 2 cones, picked one cone up, and moved it much to close to the first cone, so that scoring a goal through that narrow space would be nigh impossible (for 4 and 5 year olds at least). I had to laugh, even as I called out a reprimand and an order to replace the cones.

Saturday’s game day dawned cold, but not nearly as cold, windy or rainy as the rest of the weekend would become. James climbed out of bed to check on the game time, 10:30am, and then returned and barked that we had to get up and get ready or we’d be late. I got up and got ready while James got the kids ready, shin guards, soccer uniform, water bottles, soccer balls, and then out the door, “we’d better take Daddy’s car! It’s FASTER!” without much breakfast for me or James, as we were running late late late.

I had printed out the map of the park where all the games take place, with each of the fields designated. I knew we were on field 7. We were supposed to arrive about 15 minutes early, but instead arrived right at game time. Ethan and I scrambed out of the car to run over to his field. Already feeling like a disorganized, bad mom, I felt even worse as I arrived at the fields to see all the games under way. There were 3 little fields all in a row, and #7 was supposedly the one in the middle.

I looked and looked and did not recognize a single person. I asked Ethan if that was his coach? How about that guy over there? I felt worse and worse as I stopped and started asking parents on the side of the fields what team was playing here? How about the other side? Do you know the team number? before walking to ANOTHER one of the fields, with little son in tow to ask someone over there. Maybe it wasn’t field 7 at all. Maybe it was field 10? Where was field 10? Why did I leave teh map with James in the car? Why had I not brought my phone so I could call him to tell him to bring the map? Why did I decide to dye my hair pink, so then not only was I a bad mom who didn’t know where her son’s game was, I was a bad PINK HAIRED mom who didn’t know where her son’s game was. I was so very fed up and didn’t know what to do and was feeling lower and lower by the second. When James and Jocelyn showed up, I was done asking people questions, and kept nudging James, “Go ask, go ask, go ask.”

I felt awful as I had to try to cushion Ethan for the worst, “Your game might be over, honey.”


Why? Because your mother is an idiot, that’s why. I had no good answer.

James was positive that it WAS field #7. I sadly noticed that the game seemed to be ending. “What time IS it?” I asked James. “10:40,” he replied. 10 minutes past Ethan’s game time, and it was over already?

I walked up to yet another parent, and went through the usual questions, “What team was playing? Do you know what the opposing team was?” The dad shifted uncomfortably, but not from the irresponsible pink haired mother interrogating him, but because he had no idea. He turned and called his wife, who evidently kept all the information, but was too far away/busy talking to someone else to hear. He turned back and said a little apologetically, “The game ran a little late, I don’t think the ref was really paying any attention to the time. We started late too.”

“When was your game time?” I asked, yet another question from the pink haired irresponsible mom.

“It was supposed to be 9am.”



These games were supposed to last a half hour. Nine am?

“9am? What time is it now?” I asked. He looked at his watch. Finally, a question he could answer and didn’t need to find out from his wife!”


I turned to James who had ambled up to us sometime during the discourse, and he frowned and looked at his watch. My first thought was, ‘James has an atomic watch, it can’t be wrong.’

But it was wrong.

He had hit some button in the night and set it to the wrong time zone.


Then came the laughter with the guy, “Oh, we are here a whole HOUR early! Thanks for your time,” etc. etc.

After the flood of initial relief, came the ANGER. I knew it wasn’t James’ fault. Hell, I was partly to blame. I have so many clocks that one can see the time from pretty much any position in the entire house, and yet I never noticed the hour. I wasn’t angry about the slowly freezing to death over the next half hour, I was angry about feeling like such a bad, irresponsible mom. Every time I walked up to someone to ask questions, I felt so horrible about myself for not having it all together. I reflected on the repeated feeling of inadequacy as I sat on the cold grass which slowly froze my ass off, and damn if I wasn’t pissed off, baby!

So my own self-loathing aside, Ethan’s first game was fantastic. The game itself did a lot for making me forget about being pissy. It was so cute and amusing and wonderful to see all those little kids running around, like a swarm of bees following around a little mobile flower, with a few bees not really caring about the flower and just running around for the hell of it. My son? One of the bees running around for the hell of it.

Right before the game started, Ethan actually spread his legs out wide to make what I instantly recognized as a tunnel. My son wanted the ball to go through his little self-made tunnel. I had to call out, “Ethan! No tunnel!” and then he hopped his legs together amiably. He was not overly concerned about the ball, or trying to get it through the goal, and I would have to think very hard on whether or not he actually made contact with the ball at all. …. No, I take it back. I am pretty sure he did. But for the most part, he had a blast just being out there and running around.

He played in the first half, and sat out the second half. He spent the first few minutes trying to convince me that we didn’t have to stay until the end, but could leave and go play on the playground. I finally had to put a stop to that by saying if he asked again, we wouldn’t go to the playground after the game at ALL, and then he shaped up.

We had fun hollering, “GO LIGHTNING!” (our team’s name, which Ethan suggested on their first practice) and nobody noticed when we lost, I think the score was 5-3.

We played on the playground, and then went out to lunch (James and I had had no breakfast, if you remember), but it wasn’t until I sank into a steaming hot bathtub after we got home and got the kids settled in for naptim, that I finally warmed up my cold frozen bones.

Before I finish this post, I have to say that Jocelyn cannot wait until she is old enough for soccer. At Ethan’s first practice, the coach called out, “Everyone line up!” and Jocelyn ran and lined up, ready to play. She can’t understand why SHE doesn’t get to play TOO! She’ll be old enough to play in the fall, and then we’ll get our superstar playing. Between the two of them, she is the one that is much more into it. For her age and motor skills, what she can do with a ball is pretty amazing. She’s the one who always wants to play soccer when we go outside to play. Ethan would much rather get out his trucks and dig in the flower beds. When James and I watch her, we both agree that she seems to be a natural athlete (biased much? probably). I can’t wait until I don’t have to stop her from running out onto the field to play too.

-amy doesn’t know about this soccer-mom gig

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Our First Soccer Game (or, I Make A Lousy Soccer Mom)”

  1. annaon 16 Apr 2007 at 11:24 am

    Nathan absolutely loved soccer when he was Ethan’s age. They don’t really have it here, but he still goes out and kicks the ball around. I don’t think bias has much to do with it, you just recognize your kids’ strengths. We have two natural athletes and one who has to work for it, but she enjoys it just as much as the other two. Really, that’s all that matters.

    As for the mommy guilt, don’t let it beat you down (even though it’s really hard not to let it). You know you are not a horrible mother and if being a few minutes late is the worst of it, you must be doing an amazing job.

  2. Lindaon 16 Apr 2007 at 4:22 pm

    I love it! What a delightful story. Coincidentally, my nephew is decidedly not the athlete/daredevil/player so much, whereas his younger sister my niecelet is at the tender age of not quite 2 already dancing and running and inventing gymnastics moves…oh I so can’t wait until we can get your kids and Lesley’s kids together for some fun times!


    I LOVE the pink-haired soccer mom!

  3. Chrison 16 Apr 2007 at 8:15 pm

    For the official record, being a worker man is highly overrated.

  4. Heatheron 18 Apr 2007 at 10:49 am

    You’re not a lousy soccer mom, you’re a soccer mom in training, and you’re off to a fabulous start! A whole hour early, and “socializing” with parents from other teams. Before you know it, you’ll know all the kids’ names, half of the parents, and you’ll be coordinating the end of the season party.