I acquiesced when my children first told me that they wanted to start soccer.
Dr. Sophia Grant: I liked soccer as a kid. Kicking, rather than touching a ball, really appealed to me. I am now three years into it -- and I have all the accoutrements of a soccer mom: the minivan, foldable chairs, blankets, water bottles, extra balls, snack lists, and telephoto zoom-lens camera. It really is a love-hate thing. For the $60 registration, I get two practices and one game a week (multiply that by three). The practices are a pain, but the games are wildly entertaining. And yes, I am the mom yelling like a lunatic on the sidelines for my kids and all the other kids on the team. My husband stands far away from me; he says I'm too distracting. But the mom on the other side, now SHE'S obnoxious, shaking that cow bell ... come on!
Because they only meet once a week, I tried to steer the baby into dance (pretty leotards and cool moves) and gymnastics (cartwheels and back bends), but she wasn't buying any of it. She wanted soccer, just like her big brother and her sister. Now I am so far deep into this thing, I couldn't be extracted with the Jaws of Life.
When Daddy got onboard, there was no turning back. He's now assistant coaching both the girls' teams. Up until three years ago, he never even played soccer. His stuff includes flags, cones, practice jerseys, and a magnetic tactical clipboard. He stays up nights thinking up strategy and reading coaching books. He's intense. For extra practice, they run drills in the backyard, practice corner kicks, and go one-on-one. We even have a soccer goal staked into the ground. The dog is in on it as well. She runs and tries to get the ball away from everyone.
Winning is great, but there are other benefits as well. I learned the difference between offense and defense, but more importantly, we spend our entire Saturday together, for 12 weeks, twice a year. Celebrating victories together, dissecting defeats, watching my baby bite her bottom lip while holding her braid, all while trying to score a goal -- it's all priceless. The older two have now joined their school's winter season soccer team. I'll still be there on the sidelines, freezing, screaming encouragement, my but loving every minute of it.
|Dr Sophia Grant has over 15 years of experience as a pediatrician working in a variety of settings. After completion of a fellowship in Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Oklahoma, she stayed on as a faculty member and is now a Clinical Assistant Professor. She is also co-author of "Visual Diagnosis of Child Abuse on CD-ROM", third edition. When not doctoring, Dr Grant spends her time being a wife and mother of three wonderful children.|