Enjoy the Moment

Had the pleasure, yes I said pleasure, of taking The Boss to skills night last night.  This is an extra night of practice that our recreational league offers.  They work on specific, individual, skills like shooting, 1 v. 1 defending and ball handling.  I openly admit that if I would have been  asked before hand to measure, on a scale of 1 -10, my excitement level about “getting” to attend i would have likely said “5”.  I was totally indifferent, it was really just something I had to do.  After sitting there for just about 15 minutes my attitude changed.

I’d forgotten how friendly, how town square like, the sideline of recreational soccer can be.  I didn’t have any real interactions with other parents but the vibe is so very different.  The palpable stress level created by the competition of club soccer is totally absent at rec’s skills night.  There are no dads hovering off to the side whispering as they recap last week’s game most assuredly noting how their son, who is most definitely destined for stardom, was a beast on the pitch while *insert other boys name here* didn’t even deserve the eight minutes playing time he got.  No, at rec skills those dads are replaced by moms and dads who happily play on their phones and discuss random events while casually observing the goings on out on the field.

On the field things look different too.  The lines in the drills are less tidy.  Kids have yet to realize that the very act of lining up and, more specifically, getting in line first is, in and of itself, a competition.  The scissors, step overs and Cruyff skills are replaced with skipping, daisy picking and doing exactly the opposite of what the coach is instructing them to do.  Breaks for water and Gatorade are part of the fun of practice.  Every aspect of practice is fun, it’s all new.  If there are parts of practice the kids don’t particularly enjoy it is no matter- they simply change things up and make their own fun.

This is what shifted my thinking from raging indifference to actual enjoyment.  Being an adult is hard, stressful.  I have a never ending lists of things to do, deadlines to meet, expectations to reach.  It is always go, go, go, go, go and do,do, do, do, do.  Tonight, for an hour and a half, I got to just be  “The Boss’ Mom”.  I was allowed to watch my girl and her friends have some carefree fun as they picked up a few nuggets of soccer knowledge.

At one point my girl had peeled off from the pack.  She had her own ball at her feet and was playing with her pinny. Rather than mentally roll my eyes, shake my head and get up to try and get her involved I watched her.  She was happy in the moment.  As i watched it became clear that she was protecting one of the six goals that had been set out for the drill while the others were busy playing bee-hive ball at its finest…. save the two boys who apparently had enough of soccer and had transitioned instead to wrestling.  It was just a gift to watch these kids, who spanned various age groups and skill levels, having fun.

The hour and half at the field was a fantastic reminder to take my foot off the throttle once in awhile.  I am so competitive with everything and I always want to get so much done… then when I don’t accomplish what I “should” I beat myself up over it.  My mind is constantly churning, moving, thinking, analyzing and I owe it to myself, my husband, and my kids to slow down and and enjoy the moment more often.  Sometimes that may be the simple act of sitting back and observing practice, appreciating my kids for the gifts they are to me.  Other times that may be taking a moment with The Boss and taking pretend “selfies” with the old Ottter Box case she uses as a pretend iphone.  This Soccer Mom is blessed and sometimes it takes a practice I would have been happy to skip to really put me in check and remind me to enjoy the time I’m given with the kids.

USA v. Mexico- As lived by this Soccer Mom- Second Half

 

Half time- get The Boss and family their dinner.  I rid myself of the tag that proves Big Daddy never actually wore this jersey.

Kickoff of 2nd half- My phone rings and it’s my Mom.  Doesn’t she realize what is on TV at the moment? I exchange pleasantries and thank her for checking in on me with my battle with the flu.  I LOVE chatting with my Mom but my goodness… there is a game going on here.

48th minute– US actually looks to have some offensive life but they are waiting yet for the payoff goal. Wait! They get awarded a corner and it found itself in the back of the net courtesy of Eddie Johnson!!! USA USA USA! Our neighborhood may now be asking what sort of animal was stabbed in our house as Big Daddy’s cheer was more of a yelp with just a hint of a wooo hooo.. 1-0 USA

49th minute– As the TV coverage continued to show replays Big Daddy has a chat with LJ “What did that keeper do wrong?” and he promptly responds “came out”  Big Daddy adds..”If you come out you have GOT to get the ball!!!’

51st minute- LJ proclaims his lack of USA jersey is lucky in USA v. Mexico games. We’ve clearly passed on the ridiculous sports superstitions gene

52nd minute- Alejandro Moreno makes Big Daddy appear to have some soccer cred as he basically reiterates what BD had instructed LJ about on corners just moments ago.

57th minute- Mexico awarded a corner that appeared to be more worthy of a goal kick.  That goes out for a 2nd corner… which falls into Tim Howards’s bread basket.

60th minute- crowd is chanting “Dos a cero” and Big Daddy educates the boy on the history of that

62nd minute- Dempsey kicks the ball out of bounds so his teammate, Eddie Johnson can be tended to. Replay shows he got a decent knock to the head.  USA plays temporarily with 10 men.  Big Daddy excited at the prospect of Johannsson come in but that may have to wait.

68th minute- LJ is doing mental gymnastics about the hex table and what actually must happen for USA to actually clinch it and begins waving the flag,  The Boss appears to have somehow locked herself in the hallway which is odd since that door does not lock. For now, we’ll go with it and leave her be.  LJ actually shows mercy to his sister and lets her out. She came out here long enough to get a drink of water and then went back to watch whatever it is she has turned on in our bedroom.  I’m not worried- we have parental controls in there.

72nd minute- Besley shows the young boys that he still has some flash- may have been out of gas and couldn’t deliver the pass that was needed

75th minute- E.Johnson’s knock to the head from earlier ends up being too much. He comes off for Diskerud. Big Daddy is disappointed in this decision

77th minute– The Boss graces us with her presence once more and this time at least acknowledges the game asking ” Who’s winning? The US?” Big Daddy nods yes and she gives a enthusiastic fist pump and a “YES!”

78th minute- Dos a Cero! Landon Donovan, The Boss’  soccer boyfriend, scored after wonderful ball control by the recent sub, Diskerud. Appears Klinsmann knows more than Big Daddy. 2-0 USA!!! We all let the neighborhood know of our pleasure

83rd minute- Big Daddy is monitoring things regarding this game on twitter and facebook and such and announces that “the crowd is chanting ‘you aren’t going to Brazil” to Mexico. LJ asks, “Do you think they can understand what they are saying” Uh, yeah, I am sure most of the Mexican fans and the team understand English.

88th minute- the age ol’ game of “how much stoppage time with there be?” begins.  Big Daddy says 6, LJ and I said 5 but he makes me change so I say 4.  The Boss is here to watch the end of the game with us and wants to wave the flag.  Her request is denied as she has not touched it all game and for her to do so now could change things in favor of Mexico

91st minute- They have still not announced official stoppage time and we are all getting antsy

92nd minute- I WIN THE STOPPAGE TIME GAME!

93rd minute- Dos a Cero chants make a comeback in Columbus

94th minute- Ian Darke “Well, looks like the US is going to Brazil and Mexico is going to New Zealand for a playoff, who would have thunk it?”

94th minute part two- Wow- a PK awarded- he missed it but it does not matter.  A text from Big Daddy’s brother noted that Tim Howard should have taken it

 

Well exciting US soccer game. We love spending this time together…. even with Boss girl going in and out.  THIS is why we love soccer.

 

 

USA v. Mexico- As lived by this Soccer Mom- First Half

4;15 Big Daddy and kids arrive home.  Immediately question me as to why the pregame show is not on.

4:30 The Boss and I assemble a Burrito casserole

4:40  Big Daddy yells at LJ and I to go get our jerseys on.  Uh, I don’t own one.  Apparently there is one hanging in the closet that no longer fits Big Daddy that I am supposed to wear.

4:55 Team walk out to well know international soccer anthem.  Donovan looks as if he is wearing blush and Chicarito appears to want to barf

5:00 National Anthem is played.

5:02 Big Daddy walks in wearing a United States scarf, carrying  a beer wearing a US Jersey, and hands LJ a flag and then proceeds to toss me his my USA jersey.

5:03 LJ is excited to see Alejandro Moreno commentating. Moreno’s son used to play on LJ’s soccer team..

5:04 I am now sporting the jersey I was given .  I question whether this did ever actually fit Big Daddy as it shows that I am definitely not  “match fit”

5:05 Chicharito is praying for Mexico’s World Cup life as we approach kickoff and Landon Donovan appears to have taken hit to the face as his eye is so swollen

 

Kickoff-Not sure if it is the game or residual flu symptoms but I want to barf

2nd minute- First corner kick by Mexico was, ultimately, a non issue.  That along with some Pepto helps calm my tummy for now

3rd minute- F. Johnson apparently saw a friend in the stands that he wanted to kick the ball to….

6th minute- Crowd singing when the Yanks come marching in is more impressive than U.S. squad’s play thus far… an early threat of an own goal? We’d best do better.

7th minute- I have got to ask- did Klinsmann show the squad tape of LJ’s team playing and ask them to emulate it? Seriously, they are giving up the ball easily and then resorting to just booting the ball….. to Mexico

10th minute- Free kick Mexico, Chicharito is as unsuccessful at that as he has been in the last few games against the US

11th minute- Dempsey attempts to seemingly shoot it from Mexico and is unsuccessful

12th minute- The Boss has turned on the TV in our room and has done multiple trips back into the living room to determine when dinner will be ready. Silly girl, she thinks one of us will get up to deal with dinner before half time.

14th minute- LJ was messing with the remote and suddenly the TV was tuned to some American Football.  I have not seen Big Daddy move so quickly in a long time to get it changed back but we still missed the direct kick by the U.S.

19th minute- US lost possession in mid-field and Mexico nearly made them pay.  Luckily Howard is great in net and pushes it wide.  The counter attack amounted to little much more than Landon Donovan kicking it to Mexico’s keeper

21st minute- A dangerous free kick right outside the box. Luckily for the U.S. it amounted to nothing. I notice Big Daddy’s breathing is speeding up and LJ is waving his flag trying to inspire his nation’s team from afar.

24th minute– LJ is suddenly interested in talking to me about Social Studies.  All I hear is” Waahhh waaah waaahhh” a la Charlie Brown’s teacher

26th minute– The Boss comes in and again asks about dinner.  We ask her to be quiet and offer her an orange or some apple sauce.  I quickly get up to actually put dinner in the oven…..

31st minute- First US corner kick of the game.  Eddie Johnson is unmarked, got up, and got a solid head on it but alas the Mexican keeper did his job

35th-36th minutes– US and Mexico both doing their best to act out youth soccer trading give-aways in mid field

42nd minute- Fabian Johnson shows boys and girls across American why working on juggling skills is beneficial. Didn’t amount to anything in the end but he kept possession by working hard

44th minute- When no one stepped up to challenge Mexico took a shot on net and Howard came up with a great save.

45th minute- LJ is waving the flag as they announce one minute of added time.  Of course US is content to waste time and Mexico wishes to put on pressure. A foul that earned a yellow card gives a direct kick to the Mexicans. Howard pushes it wide.  Resulting corner? amounts to nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Season Kick off: 2013

When we were given the kid’s schedules a few weeks ago we were immediately struck with the fact that we had a conflict…. DAY ONE.  We knew that there would inevitably be some conflicts in the fall schedule.  What we were not prepared for was for it to happen on the first Saturday. *grrrr*  While LJ’s team plays year round today marked the first game of the fall season in the new, higher, bracket they were promoted to based on last year’s play.  For the Boss today marked the first game she played after aging out of Pee Wee. She now has the pleasure of playing 9v9 on a larger field and having to deal with goal keepers. Long story short, big day for both kiddos.  Trying to determine who went where was odd. What? We are to vocalize which child we preferred to watch? That seems like an all around bad idea.  What did we do?

Cards will determine our fate

Cards will determine our fate

 

Seriously, we picked cards.  With LJ sitting right there I was told to pick a card.  A Jack and I went to The Boss’ game, an Ace I went with the boy child.  My fate?  I chose an ace.  LJ and I headed off to a local middle school which, I must add on this day where temperatures topped 94 degrees, is devoid of any trees. It was hot! The boys looked strong, really strong, but failed to capitalize when opportunities presented themselves and found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-2 game.  After coach completed his post mortem I received a text that the 2nd half was just starting in The Boss’ game.  Sweet.  Just found an upside to the rec league working out opening day kinks.  A quick drive found us at the park and we located her field and found our girl tending the goal  Her keeper brother was proud! We didn’t get to see if she had really been paying attention when at her brother’s games as her team spent the bulk of the time in the attacking half.

This is also where I saw that my girl is truly MY GIRL.  They had a water break (again, was hot as hell out today!) and my girl told the coach she was okay staying on the sideline.  Seriously? Who asks to be benched? The Boss does.   We, out of our girl’s ear shot, advised the coach that she is not to listen to her.  She is to play her as she wants.  See- The Boss is a good player.  She had the team’s first goal, in fact.  Just turns out that, like her Momma, she is lazy.  LAZY!  She confirm this on the way home when she noted that she really didn’t want to be all sweaty. Well, sunshine, you may be in the wrong sport.  :) Truth be told I don’t blame the girl it was hot.  I was sweating like a stuffed pig and I was sitting on my butt under an umbrella.   That said- we are working to create habits that will promote physical movement and activity….not sitting on the bench waiting to collect the snack of the week.

All told it was a fantastic day of soccer despite the boy’s loss.  I was pleased to have been able to see LJ’s game and half of The Boss’ and then to get to introduce myself to her coach…. see Big Daddy has taken on dealing with her practices so today was my first glance at the Blue Jaguars. Is going to be a fun season for both of them.  Looking ahead at the schedule there will be a few more times where we will have to pick cards to determine where we will go.

 

 

Back to School:Return to a Schedule

I love the back to school time of year.  Kids are excited about meeting new teachers, seeing their friends and being dressed in their finest new duds.  I don’t even mind packing lunches because their brand spanking new lunch pails have yet to fall victim to a two day old tuna sandwich or a smashed banana.

What I enjoy the most about the back to school routine is the return to a schedule.  A concrete list of start times, end times and must not misses.  I’m an accountant so schedules and deadlines are in my blood.  A way to have order in chaos.  Schedules make me happy.  Mostly.  In preparation for the kids starting back to school next week I began keying school and activity schedules into our family calendar on www.cozi.com.  Not too far into the process I realized I may be afforded an average of two hours of sleep each night if I actually strive to accomplish all that should be done in a day.  Am I the only one whose daily calendar looks something like this-

Insanity!

Insanity!

Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit but it doesn’t feel like it.  LJ’s fall soccer season starts and he has on going golf lessons.  The Boss started practices for the rec team she is playing on and both have Kids Club at church to attend each week.  On top of that we have to navigate a bothersome thing called HOMEWORK.  Knowing all this Big Daddy sent me a text that made me want to simultaneously laugh and cry.  The text read:

“Do you have an issue with LJ playing fall baseball?”

Uh, what? Give me a moment to pick up my jaw and my phone.  Are practices for fall ball from 1 – 2 AM because we may have that time slot available…. at least on the 2nd Thursday of each month.  I know the boy child has been begging to play baseball again and fall ball is a way to allow him to get reacquainted with that skill set with minimal time commitment but I fear another item being added to our schedule. Beyond that I fear what spring would bring should the boy love it and wish to play the traditional baseball season.  Actually I know what it will mean- it will mean that the schedule above would be pretty darn accurate.  If I am to survive this sort of schedule I must commit to:

1) locating the housekeeper I’ve been wanting to secure for years

2) researching and utilizing  home delivery options for our groceries

and most importantly:

3) Finding and joining a wine of the month club (or two, or three….)

Love Story, Part 2

Big Daddy made it quite clear that there was a condition that had to be met before he moved into my one bedroom loft apartment after we were married. There was no doubt that I had to secure cable TV before he would even consider stepping foot over the threshold after reciting our vows. This was not a condition for marriage- just for postnuptial cohabitation. You see, the 2002 FIFA World Cup kicked off less than a week after we got married. Without some sort of cable TV he would marry me but would continue to live with his Uncle until the conclusion of the World Cup. Thinking that an odd way to start off a marriage I added cable to the list of bills paid each month.

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The Beautiful Game: A Love Story Part 1

Looking back on more than eleven years of marriage I realize that there was a part of our wedding ceremony that I obviously missed.   I was clearly distracted by the white gown, the handsome man sporting a tuxedo or the throngs of our friends and family who gathered to help us celebrate our wedding. Thinking back I realize I was so focused on keeping happy tears from springing from my eyes and making a mess of my makeup that I hardly heard the vows.   In my head I heard and agreed to the following:

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