Wednesday, April 2, 2014

World's Okayest Soccer Mom

My son graduates in June and is in his last season of school soccer. Henceforth,  any team he joins will be his responsibility--all fees/half-time snacks/purchasing countless pairs of that special kind of socks.  On one hand I am rejoicing (at home, warm and dry in my
comfy sweats, adult beverage in hand), and on the other hand (the one without the drink) I realize it's the end on an era.

My husband and I have attended countless soccer games in the cold, sideways-driving rain. We have spent entire weekends shuttling wet, muddy children between games and home and one more game. There was one soccer season when all three kids were playing, all on different days, and my husband was in an adult indoor league, so we had soccer 7 days a week. We have put in our time and paid our dues.

With our son's recreational soccer league we attended every game, but for some reason we've never bothered to go to any of the school's away games.  Maybe because he always had to ride the bus there, anyway, and it got to be a habit.  Maybe because it was a weeknight and we were tired and we had two other kids at home who needed dinner and homework help and our presence.  Maybe we just aren't as good of parents as we thought we were.

After the last game at the high school I was talking to some of the parents in the stands when they asked the inevitable question: Was I going to the next game in Granite Falls?  I panicked a little and tried to come up with a good excuse (Important business meeting in Poughkeepsie?  Emergency surgery on my big toe?)  The best I could do was :  Umm, probably not--we don't usually go to the away games.  "Really??  We try to go to all the games!"

Soccer in the rain
Let me just point out that because our school district is so small (2A) we don't play many local teams, but have to go to Sultan and Coupeville and South Whidbey.  That, my friends, requires a half hour drive to Mukilteo (in good traffic) and a ferry boat ride (after waiting in a long line-up of cars, all undoubtedly trying to make it to their kid's game).

I don't do away games.

I was feeling a little guilty, however,  about missing this game.  It's his last year, after all, and the odds were in favor of our team winning.  But it was an early game (Granite Falls recently built a huge, beautiful high school, but then couldn't afford stadium lights). And there was no covered seating (the Pacific Northwest is not known for dry, sunny springs).  And I was coming down with a head cold.  That afternoon I told my son we probably wouldn't be making it to his game.  He gave me kind of a confused look and asked "Why would you be making it to my game?"  Um, because we wanted to see you play?  "But it's an away game."

Now, there are a few ways I could take his response:
  A)  He has learned to expect so little from us as parents, that he wouldn't consider the possibility of us putting forth the effort to go a game more than 15 minutes away.
  B) We are parenting geniuses and have raised children who do not see themselves as the center of the universe, therefore not asking any more from us than we have time to give.
  C)  He never really wanted us to come to any of his games.

I have chosen option B because it makes me feel better.

Soccer in the snow
I started thinking about all the other things I don't do for our kids, all the late night rides to the roller rink I refused, or the slumber parties I've vetoed.  All those things that my kids swear every other parent in the known universe is happy to do.  Was I really short-changing them? And then I thought about all that I have done for them--like teaching them to read, oh and that little thing called giving them life.  When they are grown and gone, I'm sure there will be at least one way they'll feel we've failed as parents.  I figure skipping their away games is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.  I mean, it's not like I called them "Sweet Pea" in front if their friends, or insisted on coming to 5th Grade Camp.  (Oh wait, I did those things.)

As it turns out, the weather conditions for the game in question were near perfect (read: no rain) and my son's team won 5-0.  I still stand be my decision to forgo this game, if only because he personally did not score any of those goals and I spent that time with our other two kids, watching a movie on the couch after a home-made meal.  And sleeping.

Home games are the best games