I’m not sporty. At all.
However, I was decent at high school biology. I knew that with human reproduction came the risks of producing offspring with completely different personalities, interests and skills to mine.
Nonetheless, when my children announced that they were keen on extra-curricular activities of the non-sitting-down kind, I admit to being a bit surprised.
When there were whispers from other adults that my kids might actually have some athletic abilities, I was even more surprised. Especially as my sporting skills run more to the following:
The following commentary is based on the reluctant-sports-parent-subtype of bad soccer mums, as opposed to the screaming-from-the-sidelines-and-punching-the-ref variety (which will be covered in another blog once I’ve worked out which member of the Stuck On You Crew will admit to being one of these).
YOU KNOW YOU’RE A RELUCTANT SOCCER MUM WHEN…
You did a rain dance last night.
You’re annoyed it didn’t work.
You’ve hit the snooze button on your alarm.
Oof, there’s a kid bouncing on you. Can’t hit snooze on that one. Better get up.
You try to convince little Jimmy that his slight sniffle might turn into full-blown pneumonia if he doesn’t sit this morning’s game out.
Little Jimmy wins. He’s fine and you’re still going to soccer.
On the way there, you have a little chat about whether he’d like to swap soccer for martial arts. For his own reflex and self-defence skills of course.
And not at all for: 1) the sleep-in-friendly hours; 2) the fact that it’s held indoors with comfortable seating for parents; 3) the fact that parents don’t even have to be there at all; 4) the fact that it’s not a team sport so none of the other kids or parents can get cross if little Jimmy stuffs up a bit…. Ahem.
No dice. Oh well, you tried.
You’re secretly glad you drive a tiny hatchback so no one will ask you to carpool or deliver the team’s equipment.
You arrive late and are forced to park in the only space left – between two people-movers. You worry about how you’re going to reverse out later without mowing down any children.
Jeepers, it’s freezing and you’re still half-asleep. But glass half full – free babysitting (sort of).
And eye candy. Hellooo Ollie’s Dad!
You get a bit jealous when you notice another women fawning over Ollie’s Dad. You actually envy both of them – her for having the sheer nerve, and him because dads only need to show up to anything their kid does and women are all over them.
Oh wait, that’s his wife.
Hang on. They’re BOTH here? You and your husband squabbled all week over whose turn it was to take Jimmy to soccer this week (a battle that you clearly, erm… won?)
You convince yourself they’re simply on their way to something else so it’s a convenience thing. Either that or they’re overcompensating in the manner of an overly loved up Facebook couple.
You struggle to suppress laughter and eye rolling when the coach delivers a super-earnest motivational speech. Something about soaring eagles and turtles climbing mountains and 110%. Huh?
Use your phone to search up whether giving 110% in sport is technically possible. Apparently it is. Oh.
Oops, kids have started playing. Better put the phone away.
Other parents are cheering and offering ‘helpful’ tips. Realise you understand precisely nothing about the sport or even which side your child’s team’s goal is on.
You settle for a stirring “Go Jimmy” that comes out so meek it will motivate or scare precisely no one.
You decide to brush up on (aka learn from scratch) the game’s rules. It will increase your engagement in the game and give you more specific – and correct – things to cheer about.
In your defence, you have tried several times to pick up the rules through Wikipedia as well as distant memories of mandatory PE school soccer games where your teammates screamed at you (though you can’t remember if it was because you were doing the right thing, or the wrong one).
You find a brightly coloured printable with pictures, huge fonts and no words more than two syllables. It’s clearly aimed at young children.
You still don’t get it.
Vow to watch Bend it Like Beckham tonight and pay extra attention to that bit where Juliette’s dad tries to teach the mum about soccer using salt and pepper shakers.
Half time. Who decided that sticky orange slices were a good idea?
The only acceptable use for an orange slice.
There’s a commotion on the field. Does it involve your child? Nope. Someone else’s kid has randomly decided to sit in the middle of the field and play with weeds.
Go back to looking up soccer rules.
Notice that Mrs Ollie’s mum is glaring at you. Feeling somewhat chastised, you angle your phone slightly towards her so that she can see you’ve been looking up serious soccer stuff.
Oops, no, that’s the Golden Girls’ fan page.
Hee hee, how did that get there? *cough*
You decide to angle the phone slightly upwards so it looks like you’re recording the game.
OK, now you look creepy.
You put the phone away and utter another feeble “Go Jimmy” to affirm that you are a legitimate parent and not just some pervert filming young children.
Realised that in your nervousness, you accidentally said “Go Jiffy”.
What the…? Ollie’s mum is mouthing something to you excitedly. Jimmy’s scored a goal! His first ever!
You’re so excited you’re almost crying!
You really wish you had recorded that!
Jimmy is beaming at you while being congratulated by his teammates. This is worth it all!
Wonder what the age cut-off is for playing in the next World Cup. Or let’s be realistic, the 2022 one.
Fantasise about being a World Cup soccer mum, sitting in cushy VIP boxes, sipping champagne and not having to suffer the indignity of providing the team oranges.
You chat with Ollie’s parents and realise they’re actually really nice and fun. You feel bad for your previous dark thoughts. Oh, and it turns out they’re both there because they’re on their way to a family thing straight after. Har har, you knew it!
Notice that little Jimmy has now decided to join his weed-picking friend in the middle of the field. The other players have given up and are simply playing around them.
You’ll edit that bit out when relaying the game to the hubby later.
Want to be a good sports parent?
Read this blog here.