The Newest Chapter
The Baytown Sun
Published July 27, 2005
I entered a new chapter of my mommyhood last week. I signed up my oldest child for soccer.
I’m guessing this will make me a “soccer mom.” I have yet to understand this term. You don’t really hear about “T-ball moms,” “swim team moms” or “chess club moms.” But soccer moms abound. I think they may be the ones who drive SUVs with stickers bearing their kids’ names and activities plastered across the back window.
Hey, I can be one of them. As long as my 10-year-old Suburban qualifies as an SUV. And as long as I can get the battery in said Suburban jumped by Aug. 15 so I can drive Julia to her first practice in it.
At least I’ve completed the official soccer mom initiation rite. That would be filling out the registration form.
First, they wanted to know — on a one-to-ten scale — how aggressive a soccer player my child might be. Julia is a good runner. But she is a bit fearful. You know those little yippy dogs that look like overgrown rats on leashes? She’s afraid of those. I mean screaming-and-crying, “I’ll-be-in-therapy-for-this-as-an-adult” kind of afraid. Bless her heart. I circled “Not Very Aggressive.”
Second, would I be interested in volunteering as a “team mom?” I must have had a brain convulsion because I circled “yes.” Since soccer moms are supposed to already know these things, I didn’t ask what being a team mom might entail. Do I have to act as though I gave birth to the entire team? Do I have to bake them cookies? Do I have to tie all their little soccer shoes? Do I have to put them through college? I guess I’ll figure it out.
One reason Julia’s involvement in sports will be such a different experience for me is that I didn’t play sports much as a kid. My brother Brian played Little League, but back then — at least where we lived — Little League was only for boys.
As a result, while Brian was honing his pitching and batting skills, I was hanging out at the concession stand. At the end of the season, Brian got to go to his awards ceremony. I got to go to the dentist.
I did experience a burst of athleticism in second grade. That’s when 40-lb. Deana was inexplicably picked to be captain of the kickball team. As team captain, I was expected to pitch. I was so afraid of getting hit by the ball that I would pitch the ball and then throw myself to the ground and take cover just in case the kicker launched the ball straight at my head.
We did win some games, and I never got hit, so my technique must have worked.
That same year, I played goalie during our P.E. soccer games. Remember, I weighed 40 pounds. An effective goalie, I was not.
The next year, the boys in my class discovered dodgeball. This game is not typically popular with 40-lb. girls. I went back to the concession stand. My career in sports was over.
So I’m glad Julia will be getting some positive sports experience early in life. And I’m sure she’ll do great. Who knows? She could be the next Mia Hamm. And I’ll be behind her all the way. Or at least nearby. Wherever the concession stand is.
Deana Nall’s column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.