After almost a year of guiltily avoiding extracurricular activities, we’ve become fully immersed in Soccer Parenting. I mean, not that there’s a lot TO it, exactly, other than making the initial gear investment then driving to and from various wet fields each week, but it feels milestone-y nonetheless. The first time JB and I were sitting on the side of a game in our folding chairs — water bottle, extra coat, and camera in hand — I found myself thinking that in that exact moment of time the whole “It all goes so fast!” thing didn’t ring true at all. The lanky big kid running around after a ball and high-fiving his teammates bore very little resemblance to the tiny blatting creature I used to ferry around in a bicep-destroying car seat. Right then, it felt like all seven years had passed in the exact amount of time they were supposed to: 365 days per, one after the other. It was strangely soothing.

Also soothing, maybe particularly after the sort of week that just happened, is looking around at all the other parents sitting in their own folding chairs. I don’t know, it reminds me of the sort of warm rush I’d get when I used to pick my boys up from daycare and I’d watch the other parents doing the same thing, how there was this big palpable whomp of pure love happening. Every game and practice, we adults huddle on the side of the action, alternately shivering and sweating in the capricious spring weather that thinks nothing of chasing an icy blast of rain-spattered wind with a beam of jeans-boiling sunshine, and you can practically see the heart-shaped dotted lines connecting parents’ eyes with their boy on the field. Even as the hour drags on and everyone secretly daydreams a bit about the forty billion things they’d rather be doing, we sit there and joyously yell mostly nonsensical supportive things (“Nice footwork!”) and break out into scattered, energetic applause. Like we’re watching a series of surprising and utterly delightful magic tricks.

Screen shot 2013-04-21 at 9.31.59 AM


24 Responses to “Then there was soccer”

  1. meanliving on April 21st, 2013 10:14 am

    That is a really lovely photo. (The thoughts were nice, too, of course.)

  2. Eric's Mommy on April 21st, 2013 10:43 am


  3. Ang on April 21st, 2013 11:42 am

    I think I’ve been a “soccer mom” for too long – we’ve had 2 weeks of cancelled games and I’m SO HAPPY not to be out there freezing my butt off. But I’m also the type who is freezing at any temperature below 50 – so I am I wimp!

  4. Marolyn on April 21st, 2013 2:22 pm

    I’ve been a soccer(only at 4 and 5 yrs old), track, wrestling and football ( middle and high school) mom.
    The only time I felt prouder than hearing his name & number over the loud speaker when he made a tackle, was upon hearing his name and all the academic and sports scholarships he graduated with from HS.

    I miss those days.

    Lost his football ride due to injury, left college because of his first love dumped him HARD and finally got a grown-up job 3 weeks ago instead of making a career at being a stoner and working at Taco Bell.

    Now I’m proud that he pays his own bills and lives on his own!
    My, how things change as the years pass.

  5. Victoria on April 21st, 2013 4:10 pm

    Such words.

  6. Christine on April 21st, 2013 7:06 pm

    We did the soccer thing when he was 4, but now we’re doing baseball and that seems a lot more real.

  7. Kate on April 21st, 2013 8:22 pm

    I love the verbalization of the ‘whomp of pure love’. It is a feeling I know so clearly but never would have been able to put into words.

  8. Angella on April 21st, 2013 8:40 pm

    We bowed out of soccer this year, but YES.


  9. NancyJ on April 22nd, 2013 4:44 am

    I know exactly how you feel.
    As an oldER voice — oh it just gets better and better every year.
    Both your kids are going to make you feel such love and joy that you can’t imagine you can contain any more for them without exploding.

  10. Jane K. on April 22nd, 2013 10:17 am

    What NancyJ said — -and such a sweet picture to go with sweet words …

  11. Joanne on April 22nd, 2013 10:24 am

    Great picture, and a great sentiment. I love when there is a lot of love in the room. I feel like time moves exactly the same as you described. I live in real time, I always tell people.

  12. Lisa on April 22nd, 2013 10:40 am

    Aw, man- I’m not a parent, but it was lovely to read this. After last week, indeed. My husband & I visited our best friends, who have 3 kids last weekend. Their 4 year old boy was bouncing all over the dining room “being a tiger.” Their 6 year old showed me how she was learning to write at school, and their year & a half old kept grinning & giggling with delight at my husband- she likes his beard & glasses & also probably senses his lively sense of humor. It is so nice to embrace the goodness of children sometimes!

  13. bessie.viola on April 22nd, 2013 10:57 am

    I’m not up to soccer-level-momming yet, but I have to say – I love your writing. I love it when I come here and there is something new to read. It’s always verging on poetry and leaves me wanting to read more.

  14. Laura on April 22nd, 2013 1:29 pm

    That is an awesome picture. I’ve been reading your stuff for ages, but I think this is my first comment. Just a great photo, and I always enjoy your writing. Thank you.

  15. Julia on April 22nd, 2013 3:04 pm

    these days are behind me now, but your post was the absolute PERFECT description of the feeling I had. I watched soccer, t-ball, baseball, football, basketball and lacrosse. I think I miss baseball (great hot dogs available) and lacrosse the most. Soccer plays in too many bad weather conditions :)

  16. Rebecca on April 22nd, 2013 3:11 pm

    Came back to read this a second time today. A wonderful description.

  17. Maria on April 22nd, 2013 3:55 pm

    That picture is amazing. It perfectly illustrates what you wrote, and it is all so, so lovely.

  18. Shawna on April 22nd, 2013 6:51 pm

    I love this entry, and I love the pic. And may I say I am wildly jealous of the green and the flowers where you are? We had an honest-to-God blizzard this past weekend.

  19. lisa on April 24th, 2013 12:20 am

    I just signed my six year old up for soccer, oh-so-reluctantly in this town of high strung soccer moms. So, thank you for this. I needed it.

  20. Diane on April 24th, 2013 7:20 am

    My granddaughter is now into indoor soccer and it is wonderful. It’s also climate controlled! No more wind, rain or boiling sun.

  21. Emily on April 24th, 2013 10:51 am

    “you can practically see the heart-shaped dotted lines connecting parents’ eyes with their boy on the field”

    YES. This!

  22. Karl on April 25th, 2013 9:53 pm

    I loathed the year that one of our kids was in soccer, so I have to conclude that we were doing it wrong and you guys are doing it right. Now that I’m going into GrandPa-hood (with boys!), I guess it’s good to know that soccer doesn’t have to be tedious, wrong and evil.

    That photo is awesome.

  23. Erin@MommyontheSpot on April 26th, 2013 6:54 pm

    I love that “whomp” of love description. Also think it’s pretty awesome how you live in the moment during soccer practice.

    Great post!

  24. Nicole Klein on April 30th, 2013 8:59 am

    Damn – if you don’t have the start of a novel here.

    I love your words – the beauty and simplicity, and timelessness of parenting that unites us all – you nail it every time.
    thank you ~ Nicole (one big tear!)

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