The soccer season has begun again. Yet another year of trudging through muddy fields, to huddle on the sidelines whipping ourselves into a frenzy over the on-field antics of our wannabe soccer stars.
Mr Shambles was adamant our children had to play a team sport. Working together to meet a goal, playing to the strengths of each team member, sacrificing personal glory to ensure team victory, making a commitment and sticking to it because the team relies on you showing up each week, according to Mr Shambles these are important life skills that can only be learnt in the rough and tumble of a group game.
The choice of sport was really left to Mr Shambles to decide. Given he’s only got daughters he was a little limited in his options. Let’s be honest, football (the ARL or AFL kind) is still a boy’s game. Netball, well that was just too girlie for Mr Shambles, he had enough females in his life he didn’t need to spend the weekend with a team of them. The potential for massive dental bills deterred us from hockey. Cricket and basketball didn’t generate much interest in the kiddos. So we settled for soccer.
We eased ourselves in gently, one child, Saturday morning games. We liked the crowd on the sidelines, ’cause that’s important if you are going to be in the trenches of weekend sport you want to be with parents you get on with, otherwise it would be a bloody long season.
Our second season was tougher, two children playing, one on Saturday mornings the other on Friday nights. FRIDAY NIGHT. The night of relaxation, wine and takeaway and with the endless opportunity of the weekend laying before you.
Now the wine is corked, the takeaway is MacDonald’s eaten at 110 km’s an hour on the highway as we trundle off to the multiple “away” games you must attend when you play sport in a regional area. It’s not just a 20 minute dash to the next suburb, its an hour up the road, home at 10pm and into bed because Saturday’s game is at 9.00am, back up the highway.
You shiver in the mist and hope your kid doesn’t miss a crucial kick or, worse, score an own goal. When it is their turn in the goal I can’t watch, the pressure is too great, and quite frankly they both suck at goal keeping.
The rules remain a mystery but that doesn’t deter me from voicing my opinion on where they went wrong in everything they did on the field.
I am amazed to discover the woman who deliberately selected the non-competitive, do your personal best, early childhood education of Montessori, is now yelling from the sidelines. You are not going to WIN if you don’t pay ATTENTION! In my defence Hippie Child was at the time doing a little dance number to music in her head with the ball approaching. There there is the encouragement for Princess Child to STOP BEING NICE, get in there and go for it! I know it contradicts the manners I’ve nagged her about for years but if I’m going to freeze my butt off on the sidelines they could at least let me hope for a chance of victory.
We always seem to be the team with potential. We’ve made the semi’s a couple of times, but luck goes against us on a regular basis. In both our teams we often struggle for numbers, playing with less than the opposition or with no subs. It’s character building to play an entire game with no breaks and covering twice the distance of your competitors because you are short of players. Toughen up, it’s just cramps, run it out, you’re not coming off unless you’re unconscious because we’ll have to forfeit!
It’s a tough gig sometimes but it’s clear win or lose, the children are making memories. The team (including coach) doing running slides through the giant mud puddle in the centre of the field to celebrate a win. Working together to set up a miraculous goal. Watching each other’s back. Standing up for team mates against particularly tough opponents. Laughing about the stuff-ups. Celebrating the achievements of skill when it goes right, the kick that lands in the perfect spot, the impossible save by the goalie, stealing the ball for a run the length of the field.
So off we go again, bundled up with our coats and rugs, hoping for enough wins to hold our interest.
Ever done the weekend sport thing? How did it go for you?