I am the mother of a high school athlete, now that Striker is playing on the jv soccer team. I’m even a member of the booster club! I’m tempted to say something sarcastic about that, but the truth is, I’m happy to be a soccer mom. For starters, I enjoy watching soccer. No, I’m not kidding, ya haters. I spent my first two years of college in Kansas, in the mid-80s. People in and around Wichita genuinely loved their Wings, and I went to see several games during my time there. The finesse of well-played soccer won me over. I’d still much rather watch soccer than basketball or baseball. Football is a close second.
Of course, when Striker started playing soccer we weren’t seeing much finesse. Instead, we were watching a herd of little girls run from one end of the field to the other. But, my, they were cute in their uniforms. Unlike my other children who tried soccer and quit, Striker loved it immediately and never stopped loving it. After four years of rec. soccer we took the plunge and let her try out for a select team. I remember sitting on the grass at tryouts, listening to the other moms and thinking, “Please, God, don’t let me ever take soccer that seriously.” Once your child is on a select team, though, it’s hard not to take it seriously: you are investing so much time and money!
Striker spent five years playing on select teams. We struggled with the commitment level required; trying to be fair to our other children, feeling guilty over church services missed for games, struggling to be good sports about the fundraisers and the constant driving to practices, games and tournaments. We parents talked about it being worthwhile because we were improving our daughters’ chances for scholarships, even as we poured a never ending stream of money into soccer. There were many days when it seemed crazy to me, but ultimately, one thing kept me going: Striker loves soccer. She eats, sleeps and breathes soccer. How could we take it away from her?
She is very small and fast, our Striker. I love watching her lithe brown body flying down the field, glossy black hair streaming behind. “She has a good leg,” a spectator once observed. Striker had high hopes for making varsity as a freshman, but that was not to be. After a day or two of nursing her wounds, she embraced her new team and has given her all as they’ve reached their current 6-0 record. She scored her first goal of the season tonight, in a volatile match that ended in a score of 3-2. And I was sitting in the stands with all of the other soccer parents, shouting at the top of my lungs.