I didn’t plan on becoming a soccer mom. When my boys were younger – well, before they were even born – I imagined them becoming hockey players. I would get them up in the morning and give them a bowl of oatmeal before Dad would take them to their 6:00 practices, and I would cheer loudly for them during games. But this never happened. Even then, at no point in my early parenting years, did I ever think that I would become a soccer mom.
When the boys turned 4, each was registered in the Timbits house league, practically a right of passage in town. All of their friends played; I mean, ALL of their friends. But as they got older, and their interests changed, they both walked away from soccer and got into other things.
Somewhere between chasing 4 year old Timbit players and going to High School, the oldest looked into working as a referee. At the end of his grade 8 year, he took his first qualification course, CPR and First Aid, and he spent that summer getting himself to as many fields as he could so that he could work. And he was good at it. My 13 year old could control the field and the parents surrounding it – no easy feat- and that success propelled him to continue reffing during the following school year and summer.
Fast forward to the fall of 2015. The Littlest Dude (TLD), entering Grade 5, decided that he wanted to play soccer. Since the club was short of coaches and I was going to be there anyway, I decided to coach his team. Within weeks, it became obvious that TLD was committed to the sport. We registered him for another season, and I agreed to coach again. When the Summer League opened, TLD wanted to play again – but he wanted more than a weekly house league; he wanted to play in the developmental program, which runs twice a week.
This year, it seems, I have officially become a soccer mom. I am often helping my oldest with travel to his games or back home, since games can end late. As TLD’s coach, I am committed to working with his team two nights a week. And now, as he has eyes on trying out for Rep soccer in the next year, I find myself spending almost every afternoon taking him to a field, at his request, so that he can practise shots and play with his friends. In an average week, I am making an average of 11 trips to any of the different soccer fields in town.
Honestly, I don’t know how this happened. As a parent, I introduced my boys to different activities, hopeful that they would find one that they liked and would stick with it. When they were younger, I told them, “It doesn’t matter to me what you do, but whatever you do, do it well.” My oldest son chose music – played the piano, sang in a choir, played percussion in the band – and he was good, really good, in all. He took swimming lessons and he ran cross-country, but that was really the extent of his interest in sport; his throwing himself into the world of soccer was a bit of a shock. He refs, helps coach his school’s Senior team (grade 11 and 12) and mentors new referees. My youngest? He loves athletics but he never had any real desire to get involved in any kind of competitive sport. Out of nowhere, something clicked; he constantly wants to play and, like so many boys his age, he wants to be one of the best.
I like to think that my own racing and training have somehow rubbed off on my boys. They have seen me throw myself into my running – especially during marathon season – and chase my own goals. Secretly, I have been hoping that they would follow my footsteps, especially since they didn’t follow Dad’s path to the rink. But they haven’t. For whatever reason, at different points in their lives, both of them simply seemed to wake up one morning and throw themselves into soccer. And they do it well.
Spending my time taking them from one field to another is a good problem to have.