I live with five male people who love…live…eat…drink…and sleep…soccer.
And I love it.
I’m just not very good at it myself.
I’ve tried. Because I think the idea of “family games of soccer” sound like such a fun thing to do. And because everyone else loves it so much.
Sometimes I get brave and go outside to play a game with the boys. They usually say things like, “Are you gonna play too, Mom?” What do you think that means exactly? That they are excited that I am actually putting down the bowls and the butter to join them for a game….or that they are sure that now that Mom is here the fun will be over??
As the game begins…I feel alive and exuberant and full of energy and with-it-ness. About thirty seconds in…I remember how old I am. By the time one minute has passed I start thinking about how sore I’ll be tomorrow. After a minute and a half…I start asking for a time-out, so that I can…you know…discuss the playing strategy with my teammates.
After two minutes, fear begins to creep in…telling me that there’s a good chance that my body will continue to move forward in an effort to reach the ball…but instead of making my feet stop appropriately, I will run smack into a tree.
It is then that I’m hit with the glaring realization that our health insurace plan is not even close to being good enough for me to continue to try to run after a rolling ball alongside four little boys, each with the ability to always get to the ball before I do.
So, instead of joining in the game anymore…I decide that surely I can kick a few goals to my sons so that they can improve their goalie skills. Yes, I think to myself. I’ll just stand there and kick balls to them. That I can handle.
Excited about this new idea…the boys and I move two stumps to form goal posts.
I watch the boys shoot goals at each other for a while. It looks pretty stinkin’ easy. Just kick the ball forward a few feet. Hey, I say, give me a turn now.
They smile at me with excitement as I walk confidently up to the ball. One boy readies himself in the “goal box”.
Wait a second, I say to the boys. Which part of my foot should I kick with for a shot like this…the top or the side? (Because at least I know enough that I shouldn’t toe bash it.)
The boys come over and proceed to give me a ten minute (not an exaggeration) tutorial on the proper way to kick a ball at the goal from this particular distance. Wow, I think. Matt is doing a really good job teaching them the finer points of soccer. And while they can hardly remember to put the seat down after they use the toilet…they sure can remember every piece of soccer admonition they have ever received from their daddy.
I patiently listen for the entire ten minutes…then I calmly ask again, “Okay, so which part of my foot should I kick with?”
Finally ready to give it a go…I back up a few paces from the ball. One boy puts himself back into goalie readiness. The other boys say nice things like, “Go Mommy” and back out of the way.
I pull in a deep breath, take a look at the goal, and feel totally confident that I can kick the ball straight into it. My only hope is that I don’t kick it so hard as to hurt the boy in the goal box.
I take a few bounds toward the ball, rear my foot back and kick.
The ball limps pitifully to the left for a few short feet and then spins slowly to a stop.
The boys glance at me with raised eyebrows and a look that seems to say, “Um…I’m not going to laugh…but I also don’t have any idea about what I should say to you right now.”
I rescue them by saying, “Well…that’s all for me today. I better go in and work on dinner.”
The boys shrug, grin and decide who’s turn it is to kick the ball next as they watch me go into the house to do what I’m oh so much better at doing.
I still don’t know which part of my foot I kicked that ball with. But I’ll probably know tomorrow when the soreness kicks in.
I’d love to know how it works for YOU when (if) you play sports with your kids!?