Sunday, November 16, 2014

Not Your Mama's Soccer Mom

Note: All of the events you are about to read are real. They really happened. I am THAT bad.

Son of Shark Girl plays soccer. Son #2, 8-Year-Old to be exact. 
Husband usually takes on the soccer responsibilities, toting Sonto practices during the week and games on Saturdays. Whew! He loads up the car with a chair, water bottle, Son’s ball, etc., before each practice and game. Husband knows all the moms and families, knows the name of every kid on the team. He is good like that. 
I, however, am not. And it is glaringly obvious on those days when husband can’t do a game or practice. Like last weekend. Husband had some churchy event to attend, so I, Shark Girl, was on soccer mom duty.

I suck at being a soccer mom.
Luckily, 12-Year-Old Son is old enough to stay home by himself, so I didn’t have to deal with him during the practice. One problem solved. 
“Honey, I put Soccer Son’s soccer ball in the car for you!” Husband shouted on the way out. Check. Problem two, remembering to bring the soccer ball, solved.
“Mom, can you help me?” Soccer Son yelled from his room. “Oh, crap. What now?” With 8-Year Old, it could be anything, really anything . . . from a renegade spider cornering him in his room to a poop in an unexpected place. 
“I can’t get my socks on.” Oh, I got this. I put on so many tights for dance class in my day. I can do this. Bull shit. These soccer socks are like Chinese finger traps.
Asian finger traps? What's the PC term for these dang things?

“You just roll them up like this . . .”
“Like this?”
“No, like this. Then you pull them on . . . No, with your thumbs outside. Don’t turn them inside out. No, not like that. Wait, let me show you again.”
“I can’t doooooo thiiiiiisssssss!” Screamed Son.
 “Sure, you got it.”
“But I can’t pull them up. Now they’re on backwards!” Off came the socks again. Back to square one.
“Let me me do them,” I said, pulling them over Son’s feet.
“Ow! You’re hurting me!”
This went for a good seven minutes until I was sure we would be late for the game.
Running out the door, I made sure I had my cell phone for Oldest Son to call if he needed me, my purse in case the cops stopped me (you never know what will happen on the mean streets of suburbia), a book to read (cause that's the kind of soccer mom I am . . . one that doesn’t really watch the game. I know you are all booing me right now. But, I do Jiu Jitsu, for chrissake. If I’m gonna watch something, chokes better be involved.)
I shepherded Son to the car, which was not as easy as it sounds, because 8-Year-Old is like a moth, easily distracted by any stimulus along the way.

I congratulated myself on remembering to bring a chair to sit down on, and drove off across town. We made it! We will be on time . . . if I can find the field.
Shark Girl parked the car. “Where is your field, honey?”
“I think it’s there.”
“Do you recognize any of the kids?”
“I think so. No wait, over there.”
“Are they wearing your shirt? Is that your coach?” Because Bad Soccer Mom does not know who the coach is.
“Yeah. That’s them.” 8-Year-Old runs onto the field. I follow slowly behind, dragging my chair and my 1200 page book with me. 
I surveyed the landscape as I moved toward the field. Do I know anyone here? I saw groups of soccer moms, clinging together, knowing each other either from the community or from soccer practices gone by. I eyed one group, the one closest to me at the edge of the parking lot. I couldn’t tell what they were talking about, but the woman on the left had a sneer on her face and her eyes were darting back and forth. Her tone was spiteful and superior, and the other mom was nodding in approval, a scowl on her face as well. 

“Ugh,” I thought. No wonder I never talk to anyone at the things. They are probably complaining about their son’s teacher, or describing how difficult it is to get the cleaning woman get all the cobwebs from the corners. “Double ugh. I’m gonna sit and read my book and be antisocial. If I don’t make eye contact, maybe I can get away with it.”
I positioned my chair a comfortable distance from all interlopers and sat down. I scanned the field every minute or so to see if Soccer Son was playing. Nope? Back to the book.
Wait . . . is that a Jiu Jitsu sweatshirt I see? Why yes, it is! Right in front of me was a soccer dad wearing a Jiu Jitsu sweatshirt. 
I got up and said “Excuse me. Do you practice Jiu Jitsu? So do I.”
And there ensued a long conversation about where, when, how long, we each practiced. Favorite techniques and name dropping. We knew lots of the same people in the Jiu Jitsu community, it seemed.
Well, maybe I do belong here, I thought. Maybe a Jiu Jitsu Diva can be a soccer mom, too. Maybe this is my niche.
My confidence in my soccermomdom was growing. I puffed out my chest like I was victorious, or like I was rear-naked choking someone . . . really what’s the difference? I belong! I crowed silently to myself. I belong!
Then I saw Son running toward me around the perimeter of the field. He was just subbed out. He ran up to me, red-faced and breathing heavy.
“Water?” He held out his hand.

“Water?” Oh shit, water! And at that moment I knew I could never belong here. I had forgotten the most important job of the soccer mom—to bring the water bottle.
“Oh, honey. I forgot it,” I said sheepishly. “ Can you make it?”
“You forgot it?” Son said, his voice tinged with disappointment. Husband never forgot the water bottle.
“I’m so sorry.”
“Yeah, okay,” Son chuffed, then ran back to his team.
Then my cell phone rang. It was Son #1. “When ya coming home? I thought you’d be home by now.”
“Nope. Another half hour at least.”
“Can’t you come home?”
“What, you bored with video games already?”
“Just come home.”
“When your father gets here.” And believe me, he couldn’t get there soon enough.
I turned back to my new Jiu Jitsu friend and we talked about guards and submissions and techniques—things I could relate to—until Husband showed up at the field.
Goodbye, soccer field! I said with relief. Perhaps next time the water bottle will not elude me! 


Post Script: With the change of seasons, Soccer Son has transformed into Basketball Son. Last night was his first practice, and guess who forgot the water bottle? Yep. I suck at being a Basketball Mom, too!