October 12, 2010
After several years out on the soccer field, I've gleaned a few useful bits of information that help make the experience a more enjoyable one for all involved. Lucky for you, I'm passing this wisdom on. You're welcome.
How To Be a Super Soccer Mom:
1. Help guide your child when it's time for the kids to choose a team name at the beginning of the season. You'll be doing your coach a favor, since he's the one who's going to have to yell, "Keep it up, Gummy Bears!" or "Guard your man, Psycho Cyclones!" all season long.
2. It doesn't matter how many times you remind the kids to have their uniform all together and ready to go the night before the game, you will always be a shin guard or an errant sock short when it's actually time to get ready for the game. And they won't actually let you know until you're ready to walk out the door, already five minutes late for warm-up. It's best to keep an array of soccer balls, shoes, and team-colored ponytail holders in the car, just in case.
3. An E Z Up is not a necessary accessory. I don't care how E Z it says it is, by the time you get it set up, you'll only have half the game to gloat to all the other parents who are baking in the sun without protective covering before it's time to pack up again. It's probably not worth it.
4. Learn all the kids' names on the team. It's a little bit more meaningful to cheer, "Great pass, Alyssa!" than it is to yell, "Hey! You with the soccer cleats on! Way to go!'
5. Most of the rules are pretty simple to follow. Not off-sides, though. Trying to figure that one out is like trying to hit a moving target. As best as I can tell, it just means, "Our team doesn't want that goal you just made to count."
6. Don't yell out, "Great job, Sweetpea!" to your 14 year old son after a spectacular save at the goal. Try, "Way to go, Dude!" Apparently, Sweetpea is only for our inside voices.
7. When the refs fail to call the other team for pushing and shoving, it is not acceptable to 'show' said ref what to look for to 'help' him out. That's pretty much frowned upon. Did you know they can red-card parents, too?
8. You could bring orange quarters and water bottles on the day it's your turn to bring team snacks. Or you could be the mom they all love and bring them oreos and juice boxes. They've worked hard for the past hour--don't they deserve a little sugar? Besides, you don't have to bring home the whole sugar-crazed team--just your own. You can handle one, can't you? Small price to pay.
9. Speaking of refreshments, if you keep your own beverage in a water jug to sip on throughout the game, you're the only one who can tell if it's gatorade or wine in there. Just sayin'. Make sure you don't mix up Mom's water jug with Junior's, though. Some of those kids have a hard enough time finding the ball on the field without any additional impediments.
10. In the tunnel of victory (or consolation, as the case may be), where the parents lock hands while the kids barrel through at the end of the game, watch your toes. Those soccer cleats can make serious imprints. Also, watch for those girls who try to outwit the hapless parent-tunnel members by running through again, thereby earning more than their fair share of cheering. There are no twins on the team; if she looks familiar, she's already been through. You let one through, they'll all get wise to the game, and you'll never get away. You've got a hot IHop breakfast waiting for you, and they're keeping you from it right now.
Obviously, all of these tips come from observation, not personal experience. Some of those other parents can get out of control!