It’s 2 pm and we just returned from our first official game day for youth soccer. We left our house at 8:15 a.m. I don’t think our entire family has left the house that early on a Saturday morning since…well, I actually don’t even remember the last time. It wasn’t easy. Picture me, my husband, 2 boys, 1 toddler, and a newborn racing around. Shin guards flying, cleats clacking, and someone crying (because there’s always at least one). We arrive just in time and I notice my toddler is still in pjs on and my 4 year old has no shoes.
1st note to self: Getting geared up for soccer takes more time than you’d think. Allot more time to get everyone ready.
I drop my husband and son off for the game and head out to properly outfit the unprepared members of the family. Our house is about 20 minutes away so I opt to stop at a nearby TJ Maxx. It’s closed. So, I hit Walmart (because that’s exactly where I want to spend a coffee-less Saturday morning with a newborn, a toddler, and a shoeless 4 year old). After few minutes of ramming shoes on my kids’ feet, we have a winner. Spiderman light-up shoes. Done.
Back to the game. When we get there, the first thing I notice is how unbelievably prepared the parents are. Not only were there no pajama wearing or shoeless siblings, but each family was set up like they were tailgating for an NFL game. Chairs, coolers, blankets, coffees, snacks …you name it these parents brought it. Why don’t remember this from when I used to play sports? Parents either sat on bleachers or stood, no? There was no snacks, no Starbucks, and certainly no coolers.
2nd note to self: If you want to not stand out like an unprepared amateur, BYOE (bring your own everything) to the next soccer game.
First game was the 6/7 league. Apparently some of these kids have been playing for years. Others…like my little dude … are very obviously first timers. Thankfully, the parents don’t take the score as serious as they take their spectator gear. Everyone kept the cheering positive, even if your kid made a goal for the other team. The thing is, there’s not a TON of instruction given in practice. This is something you have to do at home ahead of time. Who knew?
3rd note to self: Kids actually need to be taught how to play soccer before they play soccer.
After a short break the 4/5 game was up. Lucky for us, it started pouring rain at exactly the same time. I thought for sure the game would be called and we could all go home. Then, I saw every parent simultaneously take out the biggest umbrellas you’ve ever seen, complete with things to either stake them into the ground or attach them to their special chairs.
As for me? I had a child-size Buzz Lightyear umbrella and a half-working duck umbrella someone once bought for my husband as a joke. At this point, I officially take back what I said about the parents not taking youth soccer too serious.
There was no calling the game. The 4 year olds played on…for an hour. They were shivering, soaking wet, and by and large completely clueless to why they were chasing after a ball… in the pouring down rain. As for the parents, they remained dry, warmed by their thermoses of coffee, cheering like it’s the Hunger Games.
4th Note to self: The same weather rules apply to 4 year olds that apply to those in the World Cup. Be prepared for all forecasts all the time.
I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the day. I totally did. I wholeheartedly believe in the value of sports and the kids were super cute running around. It just wasn’t the relaxing, beautiful sunny afternoon of kids smiling and parents cheering that I had envisioned.
Have you had a similar experience? Please tell me I’m not the only non-savvy soccer mom out there.
Youth sports just aren’t what they were in the 80’s.
Next Saturday I’m getting it together. If I’m going to be a real soccer mom I’ve got some work to do.
It’s so easy to make a healthier electrolyte replacing drink for the little athletes in your family. All you need is:
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Raw honey or real maple syrup – 2 tbsp
- Baking soda – 1/8 tsp
- Sea salt – 1/8 tsp
- Water – 16 oz
Just mix everything right in their water bottle, throw in some ice and you’re done!
Of course, you can make it more lemon-y or less sweet depending on taste.