Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Soccer Mommery

O Soccer mommery,
i feared your imminent drudge.
But when you rest in P-town
the pain is not quite so much.

Days one, two, three and four of soccer (which the kid, out of nowhere, calls football) are reminding me again that things are not always what they seem. I feared the juicebox culture and made loud proclamations about how i just wasn't gonna fit in there, but alas, Portland whips me into shape once again.

The team itself is a ragtag bunch. The first kid rolls up in Chuck Taylors and a flouncy skirt, hair all askew, her Wiccan mom close behind, stinking like cigarettes and incense. Her name is Sky or Cloud or some other creative, yet somewhat ordinary moniker 'round these parts. Nationwide surveys of the top baby names in the past year have names like Madison and Devon at the top of the list. In P-town, it's probably something like Sage, Willow, and Destiny. ("Meet my daughter, Destiny... and her brother, Chance.") The next kid has an equally Portlandesque name, and an equally flouncy dress-up skirt over her sweater and jeans. My little one is probably the best equipped for this soccer experience, to my own surprise, wearing a new pair of Nikes (grandma present) and a sweatsuit. I had half expected the other four year olds to saunter in in full soccer regalia -- like Umbros and squeaky clean Adidas -- so this turnaround takes me by surprise.

But like i said, the entire experience is taking me by surprise. I expected rabid mothers who would shout from the sidelines -- pushing their kids to get the damn ball in the goal or freaking else. I expected uniforms, squeaky clean new balls, an overly caffeinated coach who promised soccer stardom in ten days or less... o i guess i don't really know what i expected but it wasn't a tatty gym floor serving as a soccer field, poor lighting, a couple less-than-inflated balls rolling around the room, and moms who aren't afraid to let their kid come over for a hug when they get tired of running. You might think that the ideal i held my head sounds better than what i am describing as the reality. But i assure you, the real is the deal. Here is where four year olds can run it all out, and learn a couple 'footy' skills along the way. They can scream and laugh and go for a drink at the water fountain (such a novelty, for a kid not yet in public school), or, like my inherently rebellious kid does, just totally ignore the coach and sit on the sidelines with their ponies.

Ah, P-town. Somewhere in this mad mess you are breeding the next generation of revolutionary thinkers -- by letting them come to you for learning, when they are good and ready.

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