children, family, humor, kids, motherhood

The Biggest Goals Ever

I hate to admit it, but sometimes, I am a reluctant soccer mom.  I used to be more gung-ho when my boys were small.  Since I still choose to keep them in a relatively low-key rec league, I am required to be at the fields for all their practices.  Even though my boys are close in age, often their birth dates do not align and they end up on different teams.  This means that they can have different practice nights.  This means that I am at the soccer fields almost every night of the week not including games.  Hence, this is where some of my reluctance creeps in.

This current season has started.  Full Speed was asked along with a few other members of his U12 team to help fill out the roster of his coach’s U14 team.  I left it up to him and he seemed excited to help out.  While the coach was confident he could hold his own skill-wise, I voiced my concern about his size.  Full Speed is a lot of things, but being tall for his age is not one of them.  He’s kind of skinny, too.  I, of course, think he is the perfect size and height to be who he is, but I also am not delusional.  How was he going to stack up against U14 size-wise?  The coach assured me he would be fine and given there is no slide tackling in this particular league, I believed her.  Maybe it was the heat.

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Full Speed’s early soccer training days.

Full Speed had his first U12 game and even though it was in the morning, it was intensely hot and humid.  His team lost quite miserably but he genuinely had fun with his teammates (they are a great group) and had two assists.  He was happy but very tired after the game.  We took him home to rest up and cool down for the next game which would be against a U14 team.

We returned to the fields well before the opposition arrived.  During warm-ups, I could see Full Speed’s opponents approaching the field.  From faraway they looked slightly bigger than average.  Upon their arrival to the field, they were GIGANTIC.  I’m talking full-grown adult-sized.  I’m talking maybe some should consider playing college football big.  Their goalie was pushing 6’0 and nearing 200 lbs.  Full Speed barely cleared most of their waists.  Yikes.

It was pretty obvious early on, given our diminutive size and the use of several U12 players, we were going to get creamed.  But that’s part of it.  That’s life.  Sometimes you are going to take a beating and it’s up to you how you handle it.  I thought Full Speed’s team handled it quite well.  Nearly all of them kept trying and didn’t give up.  It wasn’t fun to watch by any means, but I was proud of them.

It’s possible because this was the second and much worse beat-down I was witnessing Full Speed endure that day in 100+ heat, but the opposition’s goalie was becoming problematic for me.  In what I believe to be a show of complete disrespect, he stopped playing in the goal.  He wandered around the field, often pushing all the way up to midfield.  Granted, we maybe only had a handful of shots taken on goal, but his disregard for Full Speed’s trying-so-hard team was difficult to take.  From the goalie’s perspective, I’m sure he was bored by the tiny team taking tiny shots.  From a mom-nearing-heatstroke’s perspective, I wanted a goal for Full Speed’s team so bad I could taste it.  The open net taunted me.  I started to formulate a plan.  If we didn’t score soon, I was going to run on the field and take it to the house myself.  What’s the worse that could happen?  I’m banned from the game?  I’d have to go to my air-conditioned car until it was over?  Soooo tempting. Or worse (better?) yet, I’d be banned from the fields for life?  No more fire ants to contend with or sweating until I’m pushed to delrium (I’d obviously passed this brink if I was plotting to score a goal).

I was so hot and I was so frustrated and watching that goalie walk nonchalantly around the field was too too much.  Little Full Speed was up at striker and I have never wanted him to score a goal as much I wanted it in that moment.  Finally, he managed to outmaneuver their defense.  When I asked Full Speed later what is was like going up against defenders twice his size he said his focus was ‘to not get run over or get kicked in the face.’  He had succeeded at both and finally had the ball in his possession.  He broke for that wide open net.  The goalie attempted to race back to meet him.  He got there in time to block Full Speed’s strike.  The goalie anticipated a high kick, Full Speed went small and chipped a low shot right at the goalie.  Since the goalie went high, the ball bounced underneath him and INTO THE GOAL!

I cheered like we won the World Cup.

It was amazing.

Full Speed managed another goal a few minutes later.  This time, as the goalie back-pedaled to the goal, he tripped on his own feet and Full Speed’s teammate kicked the ball at him.  The ball ricocheted off the goalie and set up Full Speed in a perfect assist for a goal.  It was pretty sweet.  Another goal came later on a penalty kick by Full Speed’s teammate.

Yes, Full Speed’s team lost 17(?) (I honestly lost track after double digits) to 3, but those were three of the most glorious goals in the history of soccer.

Go Team!

children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Goals (Soccer and Otherwise)

Children are some of our greatest teachers. Young children especially have this wonderful ability to start each day confident in who they are. They embrace every aspect of themselves and express every emotion they feel. As we grow older, it is easy to lose this confidence. Soon, we find ourselves so worried about what the world will think of us, that we begin to filter they way we speak and the way we act. We opt for fitting in as opposed to being who we really are.

I decided enough is enough. For one day I was going to use my boys as my example and I was going to speak and act what was really in my heart. We attended a U.S. Women’s soccer game and instead of being calm and cool in the presence of these incredible athletes, I by all accounts lost it. I was so overcome with excitement by being within feet of my role models, that I screamed and yelled as if my life depended on it.

When I was a kid, there weren’t a lot of female athletes to look up to on a national level. To be given the opportunity to see in person, the women I cheered on to Olympic gold last summer was awesome. Watching women play at this level and intensity makes me feel like anything is possible. Gender, age, you name it, nothing should hold us back. If Abby Wambach, my favorite player, can be only six goals shy of breaking Mia Hamm’s all-time record, what can I do with my day? What can I do with my life?

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Abby Wambach on the move...!
Abby Wambach on the move…!

Alex Morgan
Alex Morgan

A. Morgan in motion
A. Morgan in motion

I cannot tell you how great it felt to express every ounce of emotion and joy I was feeling. Trust me, kids have got this stuff figured out. There is something magical about feeling something and expressing it the exact instant you feel it with no holds barred.

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All three of my boys enjoyed the 4-1 victory over Scotland.
All three of my boys enjoyed the 4-1 victory over Scotland.

For today, allow yourself to be inspired by something. Let go, be yourself and trust me, all your goals will seem within reach.

GO USA!! ry=400-1

children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Losing It (Soccer, Teeth and Otherwise)

In the first game of our 3v3 season in U8 soccer, our roster of four (consisting of one eight-year old and three six-year olds in a division against seven and eight year olds), we held our own.  While it ended in a tie, it was hard-fought and everyone gave their best effort.  T.Puzzle even managed to score his first ever legitimate goal.  In his selective remembering, it is his second goal.  He is under the impression that last fall he scored.  The truth is, and we haven’t had the heart to explain it, he had kicked it in the direction of the goal and while he had turned away to run his victory lap, a teammate actually nudge it in the last couple feet.  So, we all celebrated as he got his ‘second’ goal.  Naturally, before it even crossed into the net, he raced down the field with his arms victoriously extended in World Cup-like enthusiasm. His joy was contagious. 

The second game our World Cup dreams were quickly dashed as an opponent, who it’s very possible drove himself to the field because he seemed adult-sized compared to our team, drilled goal after goal into our net.   The younger kids kept on going while Full Speed broke down.  When you are a passionate competitor like Full Speed, losing is like taking a bullet.  In this case, it was like taking bullet after bullet.  Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch….

In the end, I didn’t mind that we lost and badly.  It turned into a great opportunity for the boys to learn about life.  Sometimes things don’t go your way.  It doesn’t matter what the outcome is as long as you handle yourself with dignity.  Yes, Full Speed was crushed but he survived.  Our focus in the future is to teach him that win or lose, life goes on.  However, it’s a lot more fun when you are the one scoring all the goals…just ask T.Puzzle!

 

In addition to scoring his 'second' and 'third' goals, T.Puzzle lost his very first tooth.  Quite a day for this World-Cup future phenom!
In addition to scoring his ‘second’ and ‘third’ goals, T.Puzzle lost his very first tooth. Quite a day for this World Cup future phenom!
children, gratitude, humor, kids, life in pictures, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting, self-discovery

My Bucket List

I was at my book club last night discussing our latest novel when I brought up the subject of a bucket list.  The themes of the story we read appropriately sparked asking the group ‘what’s on your bucket list?’  Most had an idea and most were travel related.

I had nothing.  I have no list.  I can only think as far as to what to feed my kids for their next meal.

My husband has dreams and goals.  Some are football related, others have to do with career success and preparing for our family’s financial future.

Even my boys are goal-directed.  T.Puzzle is looking forward to going to kindergarten when the time comes and Full-Speed has his sights set on learning to read and write (or his version of writing).

And, me?  I got nothing.

I have nowhere to travel (the thought overwhelms me, who would watch my kids anyway? And to take them with? That’s not travel, that’s what we call ‘over-time’ in Mommy-speak), no career goals (unless you count keeping my children alive on a daily basis as a goal) and no idea what my future holds.

This is not a complaint.  It is an observation.  Motherhood inevitably blurs the line of your identity with your children.  You are forced to put yourself on the back burner.  I understand that and it has taken many years (some days are better than others mind you) to be at peace with it.

So essentially what I’m saying is, for the sake and value of my own self, that my number one item on my bucket list is to…

make a bucket list.