There are soccer moms, and there are moms who have kids who play soccer. I believe I am the latter.
Real Soccer Moms vs. Me
Soccer moms don’t need to have played soccer or any kind of sport before, but they are committed to the game nonetheless. They know the positions, they know the proper calls, and they know what say when cheering on their players. Soccer moms also know the names of their child’s teammates and each of their teammates’ parents. If they have multiple children, at least two of them are in soccer. The only time a soccer mom misses a child’s game is when they are watching the other child’s game.
And then you have me.
I know there is a goalkeeper, I know there is a forward, and I know there is a defender. The only way I learned about the forward and the defender was because those are positions my daughter played at some point with varying success. And how do I know she played them with varying success? From listening to the things my husband–an avid soccer player–yells during games. (That’s also how I know my kids’ teammates’ names. With varying success.)
I know enough about sports to know what a foul is, but on the soccer field, that’s as good as it gets for me. When the other parents are saying “Come on, ref! Soccer is a contact sport!” after a whistle is blown, I agree with them out of solidarity. Honestly, though, every time a player goes down, it looks exactly the same to me. This means I see fouls everywhere, all the time. Which makes it really hard to know when to yell indignantly at the ref on my own.
Praying for rain
I thought my daughter would be the athlete and my son would be the…less athletically inclined one, like me, but even he got bitten by the soccer bug last year. So do you think that turned me from a mom-with-a-kid-who-plays-soccer into a soccer mom? Nope. Sure, I know a little bit more about the referee calls and the penalty kicks, but there is still a whole feature of soccer-momhood that I still haven’t developed: actual enjoyment of the game.
As much as I love my children and want to support them in the activities they love, I dread soccer season (which, in our house, never really seems to end). I hate that our family’s weekend plans typically have to accommodate games. I secretly rejoice every time a game gets rained out (which means Oklahoma’s weather has indulged me quite a bit this spring). Don’t even get me started on the tournaments.
I’m the least likely parent to get thrown out of a game by a referee, mainly because I still don’t know what I’m supposed to be yelling. I’m pretty sure “This tailgating chair is getting uncomfortable and grass is blowing in my eyes; can we wrap this up already?” is not likely to inspire the team, so I tend to remain pretty quiet.
Ultimately, even though I don’t think I will ever truly be a soccer mom, I’m still a mom. I will show up at every game I can and root for my kiddos in the least awkward way possible until they burn out. I probably just won’t be all that heartbroken if, and when, they do.