Listen y’all…I know that many young women (even those who desire to have children someday) cringe at the term “soccer mom.” The term invokes images of minivans filled with stinky, noisy children, and Capri Sun straw wrappers everywhere. For me, there is nothing better. The only thing I ever wanted to be was a soccer mom, both literally and figuratively. I love Saturday mornings gathering up gear, rushing to games, cheering on the sidelines, bringing team snacks. I love it all.
As a lifetime lover of soccer myself, I dreamed of kids that loved the game as much as I do. As a kid, my dad was always my coach and my mom never missed a game. My brother and sister also played. We were a sports family, but soccer was always #1 in my heart. Because of that, I always hoped my own family would be the same.
I don’t want my kids to play soccer, I want them to have all of the things that soccer gave me.
This weekend my daughter took the field for the first time. She was the one
with the beautiful brown ponytail all the way to her bum swinging with every
step. She was the one dancing in the middle of the field with the pink cleats and shin guards, and the giant matching bow in her hair. She’s not quite the tom boy I was growing up. She didn’t score a goal. I’m pretty sure the few times she touched the ball she dribbled in the wrong direction. But, still, as I watched her on that field my heart was happy. She was laughing with her friends and she really loved that bow. I’m almost certain this soccer mom somehow gave birth to a cheerleader.
I’m not living vicariously through my kids or trying to force my passions onto them. Playing soccer was not a chore, it was what I loved to do and I want my children to find that for themselves – even if it does end up being cheerleading. These are some of the most cherished memories I have growing up. On the field is where I met my dearest friends, who are still my closest tribe more than 20 years later.
I learned more about myself in those 90-minute games than in any classroom. I learned to push myself both mentally and physically. I learned how to balance my time and how to fulfill commitments as part of a team. I learned how to be a good teammate by relying on people and “leaving it all on the field” for something bigger than myself. I learned how to encourage others and I learned how to suck it up when I fell flat.
Soccer taught me how to be tough. It taught me that “practice like you play” carries over to the real world in so many ways. I learned how to be coachable and how to be a valuable member of a team even when you aren’t the most naturally talented. I learned that everyone has something to give and nearly everyone is stronger than they think they are.
I don’t want my kids to play soccer, I want them to have all of the things that soccer gave me. If in the end the game turns out to be baseball (Lord help us) or ballet or cheerleading or any combination, I’ll be happy as long as my children find something that they are passionate about. I want them to love something that isn’t always easy. I want them to fail and I want them to win. And I want them to cherish the memories they look back on.
But, also, I really want them to love soccer 😉