07 February 2012
I'm Not a Very Good Soccer Mom
Soccer games are a strange place for me. We're new to team sports - I mean where they actually play games against strangers from other towns and keep score - and I feel like I'm the sole noncompetitive person on the planet. Like everyone is out for blood except me. And every time they cheer for their kids, it feels like they're cheering AGAINST our kids. And I'm like "Really? Should we really be making enemies of each other at this age? Doesn't that come later? Like at the state championship? Certainly we don't do that in 3rd grade. Do we?" The other parents from other towns cheer and yell and call out directions to their kids. And everything sounds so angry. The words coming out of their mouths may be good or even helpful but when it's shouted so loudly it just sounds hostile. A mom will yell "That-a-way, Luke! Get in there! Kick it off the wall!" And my knee-jerk reaction is to say "HEY! These are children! Your job is to be SUPPORTIVE! Not to make them ATTACK each other! Geez Louise! What is wrong with you people?"
Then I sit down when I realize that it actually was kind of supportive. It was just loud. Oops.
I'm learning to listen to the words and not just the delivery. And I'm learning to get over myself. But I still don't like it.
It occurs to me as I write this that I had an arts-only childhood; no team sports. No sports at all. And no one ever stands up at a ballet recital and screams "Double pirhouette coming! Get it! Get it! Yeah! (fist pump) Double! That's what I'm talkin' about!" or "Extension! Extension! What is that?! Your toes weren't even pointed! (eye roll) That's ok.....shake it off! Shake it off!"
So I have no experience with this kind of talk - maybe I just need a translator.
One thing that helps pass the time in the bleachers (besides reflecting on the bloodthirsty nature of childhood sports) is eavesdropping on the moms from other teams. The bleachers at a soccer game are a petrie dish of parenting culture; these little snippets of conversation tell me how these people live their lives and how they approach their world. And how they raise their kids.
And I am the observer. Writing it all down using the keypad on my iPhone. They think I'm furiously texting something about the last goal or where to pick up little Parker or Hunter or Braxton Hicks after tae kwon do but I'm actually typing in everything they say. Because it just sounds so dumb when you're not actually participating. The chatter is deafening. Like hens complaining about the roosters. Here's a literal dictation of what I heard one night:
"I dunno, between tae kwon do and indoor soccer and Lego club I think he's covered. And we've got skiing coming up so we're fine."
"No sir! I got ten dollars off fifty once! And two pizzas for the price of one! I have go get a dozen at Dunkin. Sure, I go there all the damn time."
"He does it through the rec depahtment but he quit cuz he broke his ahm."
"They've won every game but one and that was to the best team in the state. Do you have my cahd? I need my cahd back."
"Who was it? Tanner? That kid is wicked good. Damn."
I don't know these people. And I'm sure they're fine and good. But between the inane chatter and indirectly attacking my child via encouraging their own children, I'm a little pissy. And I wonder to myself, would it be wrong to say the other team is ugly?
Because they were.