Soccer net

I had an unusually good time watching my boys play soccer this past weekend. It’s not always been easy to get our youngest on the field and I’m not the mom who’s really loved being there. There’s been years of standing on the cold sideline where I didn’t think the boys were getting much out of it. And there have been countless minutes on that sideline where I’ve been consumed, weighing the costs and benefits of the soccer class, while my coffee went cold. Fortunately, something has changed recently. I’m certain it’s not only me who’s noticed–the boys seem differently positioned as well. Although I look in from the net and see something that seems entirely clear (a soccer field, a group of children–excited and eager [or exhausted and angry], and a coach) these little boys have reminded me yet again of the diversity of vantage points we share. They really do see those green fields as a part of their future. A great coach can really make our children immensely proud and excited to be alive.

Wonder is priceless and the pristine innocence harbored within our children often delivers moments unique to childhood. Children often hold the gift of believing that anything is possible. So often when they share this perspective we get to see a glimpse of unconfined opportunity. We’re reminded of our own potential, too.

Two things recently passed through my ears I have to share. They’ve enhanced my soccer mom experience immensely.

ONE: Our six year-old was finishing up practice recently. As he was walking to the car my husband said to him, “If you keep that playing up, the head coach of The Sounders is likely going to call us up and ask you to come and play for them.” Apparently there was a long pause, a big beat of time. And then this: with big eyes and hope in his throat he slowed down and looked up, his grasp just a bit firmer, and he said, “Really, Daddy?”

He really believes.

TWO: After a few years of tantrums on the soccer field, our 4 year-old is finally enjoying his class. This, because of some good friends on the field and a young coach who brings delight into his eyes. After a successful practice of drills and warm-ups this weekend, his team got to play 10 minutes of scrimmage. During the scrimmage O had a moment where he broke away from the pack, dribbled the ball down the length of the field and scored a goal. He was excited, proud, but also steady. Although we’ve worked hard in soccer (and life) not to equate happiness with goal-scoring, he really seemed to take in the accomplishment. It was a milestone for him and it was meaty. As we left the soccer practice, he grabbed onto his dad’s hand and asked, “Dad, when I ran down the field and scored that goal, was it your BPOD (Best Part of the Day)?

This is why we keep going back. This is how the soccer mom is born again and again…