Willow’s last soccer practice was tonight and a few days ago her coach sent an email saying Hey! Wouldn’t it be fun if we had a parents vs. kids scrimmage? So I put on some yoga pants and my ref socks and cleats and off we went, because yes, why yes it would be fun.
I scored the first goal, (a sweet, left-footed shot) and then I took the ball away from my own kid and kept her from scoring. I am a mean, mean lady. I made up for it by letting Willow score the game-ending, little-girl-team-winning goal by kicking the ball off my leg and into the bitty net behind me. I played a lot of offense, too, and I missed about ten chances to score on beautiful passes right in front of the goal because my body doesn’t run fast enough anymore. I didn’t really need to be made aware of that.
It’s much harder than you’d imagine to play soccer against a bunch of little six and seven year old girls. I mean, you can’t really go all out, even if one of them, who has already, at such a tender age, perfected the Withering Stare, sticks her tongue out at you and makes that “bllemmaaaah” noise every time you stop a goal. (I really hope she’s not the one that Willow wants to invite over.) She called me names, too, and so I just consoled myself with the fact that I have already served my junior high time and she not only still has to, she has to go an extra year because they’ve lumped sixth grade into it since I went when it was just 7th and 8th back in the early 1980s. In your FACE, snotty little girl. In five years I will be pushing 45, but you will be in hell so ha ha ha.
One of the moms had a pretty rad foot, and every time she’d send a ball over the crossbar on the minigoal, she’d cover her face with her hands and yell that she was sorry, that she was trying to not kick it in the air but it happened anyway.
Willow had to sit on the sidelines with me twice: once for an elbow to the nose, and once for a ball to the belly. Both times she sat in my lap and cried for a second until I finally said, Ok, you ready to go kick some butt? And then off she’d jet. I thought about cheering her up by telling her that all that running around had me about two seconds away from peeing my pants (I’ve carried and delivered four children, walking fast is a challenge for me most days) but she was on the other team and therefore the enemy and I didn’t want to give them an inch.
We played until it got too dark to see well, but I think most of us could have stood to play a little longer. Willow ran up to me after, so happy that she’d scored against me for the winning goal. She held out her hands for me, Feel my fingers, Mommy!
Those aren’t fingers! I said, Those are Popsicles, brrrrr.
Then she was off again, kicking the ball and chasing after it and singing and still full of energy. As we were leaving some of the other moms complimented me and asked if I still played. And I did my usual self-depreciating oh I just got lucky compliment-bounce, but honestly it was nice to hear. Especially since a couple of times when the ball went between my feet it wasn’t because I was letting the girls win. I’m ok with all the other moms thinking that I did that on purpose because I’m nice. Totally ok.