This is our first summer playing soccer. It's for my 6-year-old daughter, but it is definitely a group activity for our family. If you drive by a field with herds of children in various groups wearing the same color shirt, running around in a frenzy, you've probably witnessed the chaos that is: summer soccer.
Soccer is almost over. Each game is about an hour and a half, two days a week. Nothing real intense for the little munchkins. We never put our daughter in the youngest age group so when I went over to visit my friend's little girl's game in the youngest division, I was shocked to find everything was smaller. The field. The goals. The players. It was mini-soccer! The parents even get to park their cars next to the game in their own private field, VIP style. Are you serious? I was like, this must be a joke. It feels like my car is parked 22 miles from our field, and my thighs start to burn once I finally get there. Maybe they need to consider valet parking. (Or maybe I just need to step it up on the treadmill.)
The funny thing about sports is that my husband and I were never serious about them. Actually, I was semi-serious about soccer in high school and enjoyed it. But that doesn't matter when there are superior jocks on the team from every living sport offered and of course they have to have the limelight at all times. God forbid they take a break for us nerds to get any time in. (Sorry, my 10 year reunion is this weekend and I'm kind of coming to terms with it -- a.k.a hyperventilating.)
Anyways, so soccer is a hidden passion. I believe in terms of attractive men in sports, it goes soccer, hockey, then more soccer. The uniforms look like they're going to a clam bake. It's a sport that makes sense to me. It's the most popular sport on the planet. Literally, just as I typed that, my son turned on Barney and they're playing soccer while singing, "When you have a ball, you have the world's greatest toy of all." That big purple corny dinosaur has confirmed my belief in this subject. It just knows.
There's one thing I didn't actually hope for or expect -- that my daughter would be good at soccer. Not that I had my doubts, she is a tank, but a light-hearted tank. She is smart and it took a couple of games for her to really understand it. She ended up being pretty good. You think I'm bragging, right? Yes, I'm proud, but mostly it freaks me out.
Here's the thing. Her father own three guitars and is musical, but he's also a brain. He enjoys learning. Not surprisingly he has 4 inches of chestnut brown hair that sticks out wildly along the circumference of his noggin (appropriately like his mentor, Einstein). In reality his hair is just covering all the bulges of his brain spilling out of his head. That disturbing image is meant to let you know, he's not an athlete. How can a brain with legs run around a court and not slip on brain slime? How can a football helmet fit that big pumpkin head of his? Impossible. So yeah. That's him. (Love you, sweetie.)
Then there's me. I am equally no athlete. Unless eating a chocolate bar disguised as a protein bar at the computer is a sport? I think not. The closest I am to being an athlete is looking like a bowling ball as I pummel my way through the grocery store. Plus, I'm kind of clumsy. If someone threw me a basketball, I'd appear to be juggling instead of dribbling. And I smile way too much. Fans would be weirded out if every player on the basketball court was always smiling.
I'm happy my daughter found something that she loves and I will continue to encourage her to stick with it. It's so important when you find something you love, to keep cultivating and expanding it, even if it's not so easy. It's just great watching people do what they love. (I mean that in the least creepy way possible.) As an adult, hobbies can feel like a luxury sometimes. What if twice a week for an hour and a half, we did exactly whatever we wanted to do? Made a schedule to wedge in the things we love? Sounds good to me.
This summer I got to watch a six-year-old experience a brand new hobby with such passion, that even though they lose games, she feels and acts like a winner every time. Those little guys are so fun and positive. Enthusiasm is contagious, spread it around!
(Go Red Wolves!)
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at email@example.com.