Monday, September 12, 2016

So much soccer

It's a good thing soccer season is relatively short because I don't know how we'd manage if we had to do this long term. I'm almost soccered-out and it's only been two weeks. Overall it's a good thing, I suppose. The kids are having a blast and are learning good things. But, oh, man! It's crazy busy.

Swimming lessons haven't helped, but those should be over this week (phew). We've been rushing to the pool right after school, swimming, rushing home, and then leaving the house to:
  • pick up a friend from after-school care
  • meet Andrew at soccer field A, where Zoë, Benjamin and I get out to wait/eat/play before practice
  • drop off Rachel and aforementioned friend at friend's sister's dance studio so friend's mom can take the girls to their practice at soccer field B
  • shuttle Miriam off to soccer field C for her practice (she enjoys having "alone time" with Dad while they're driving)
The kids practices start at the exact same time in three different locations. We need a time turner or something!

After practice is over, Miriam and Andrew leave soccer field C to pick Benjamin, Zoë and me up from soccer field A. Rachel gets delivered to our door shortly after we arrive home.

It's a bit chaotic, but it works. 

Here's a picture of Rachel out on her soccer field:

Here she is (farthest right/in front) running with her teammates—girls she has been playing with for the past four years:

My friend Debbie (who drives Rachel to soccer) posted this picture on Facebook with the caption "Soccer!" at approximately the same time I posted this picture of Benjamin, also with the caption "Soccer!"

This poor boy had to play in Crocs for his first practice because he didn't have a pair of running shoes that fit him—and I'm not about to go out and buy cleats. I mean, the kid didn't have a pair of running shoes. What made his coach think I would get him cleats? Puh-leeze.

These kids outgrow stuff so quickly. And shoes are expensive! If he's happy to wear the same pair of Crocs every day, he doesn't need another pair of least until it gets cold (or soccer season starts, whichever comes first).

I found him a pair of shoes at Ross a while ago, actually, but they're a little too big for him. He likes to wear them to church sometimes, but honestly, they make him trip when he tries to wear them to play in. I knew he couldn't wear those for soccer (at least not yet)...and then I completely forgot about getting him suitable shoes until we were packing up to head to soccer. So Crocs it was.

He has shoes now. I let him pick them out and he chose a lovely royal blue (even though I was trying to convince him that the neon green and grey ones were cooler). As luck would have it, though, his team got royal blue jerseys. He was pretty excited that they matched his shoes. "See, Mom?" he gloated. "I told you I should get blue shoes."

I have so many points to make here and my brain is going crazy trying to work them all in. It's going to be impossible, but I'll try.

1) When Andrew picked us up at Benjamin's field after our first day of practice I asked him if he had taken a picture of Miriam (you know, since Debbie and I posted pictures of Rachel and Benjamin at their soccer practice, it would have been cool to have a picture of Miriam as well). He said he didn't think about it until they were already in the car. Talk about middle child syndrome!

2) I made that collage of Benjamin to show how much he looks like his daddy. Those two look so much alike. It's a little ridiculous.

3) I don't know why they don't order more XS shirts for the little kid teams. They only ordered a couple XS and the rest of the kids got size S, which is why Benjamin is drowning in his jersey. It's better than the year Miriam got a size M, I guess.

4) Benjamin was being so timid at his first practice. His coach had split the kids into two different "teams" and was having them play a little scrimmage match, but Benjamin was having trouble getting to the ball. He seemed to be waiting his turn, which would be great if soccer was a turn-taking sport...but it's not. When he came off for a water break I said, "Benjamin, you need to kick the ball."

"But, Mom," he objected. "Everybody keeps snatching it!"

I explained to him that that was okay, but that he needed to get the ball back. Kick it once, kick it again, kick it all the way down to the goal. Don't let anyone take it away. Snatch it back if you have to (because snatching is okay in soccer).

"I'll try," he said, and he headed back out to the field for the kick-off.

The ball got trapped in a little clump of kids and Benjamin was standing around doing nothing so I hollered, "Go get that ball, Benny!"

"Okay!" he said, and charged into the group of kids, plowing over two or three of them to get the ball. It was a little too aggressive.

5) Here's a picture of Miriam's second soccer practice, to make up for the lack of picture on her first day of soccer:

Saturdays will be a little crazy with soccer games for the next little while as well. Benjamin had a game at 9:00 on Saturday, but I had to help set up for the school carnival and Rachel had to somehow get to her soccer game, which was at the same time as Miriam's game.

Andrew dropped Rachel and me (and Zoë, of course) off at the school so we could help set up for the carnival, and then he took Benjamin and Miriam to Benjamin's game. Debbie picked Rachel up from school and took her to her soccer game (so I missed that one, too). But I did get to Miriam's game (consider her middle child syndrome alleviated).

We were worried about getting there in time to snag a good jersey. The early worm gets the bird (wow; I'm just going to leave that evidence of how exhausted I am) and we didn't want her to end up with size M again. Fortunately her coach is a thinker. He pulled out the invoice that came with the box of jerseys and read, "Only two small?! Well, I guess we'll set them aside for Miriam and Elijah because they're the smallest. The rest of you are getting mediums."

Her game went well, though she also had a hard time getting in her shot at the ball. She kept running up to it and then waiting for permission to kick it. Just do it! (I totally get where that phrase comes from now).

Rachel has always played on all-girls teams, which has been fine. We're not opposed to co-ed teams, but Rachel was so terribly shy when we signed her up for soccer that we thought she'd do better if she was surrounded by girls. When we signed Miriam up for soccer they didn't have an all-girls team available for her age group, so we signed her up for a co-ed team. Both she and Benjamin are playing on co-ed teams this year as well, while Rachel followed her all-girls teammates over to a different league.

I have to say, I have mixed feelings about co-ed teams. It feels like girls are marginalized a bit—like the teams are actually "boys teams with girls on them," rather than an actual co-ed team. Now, hear me out...

Miriam's team got light blue jerseys and I heard some parents say to each other that they wished we could get a "nicer" blue like the dark blue jerseys our rivals were wearing because it was "ridiculous" to dress boys in such a light blue.

Honestly, light blue jerseys are fine for little boys or little girls to wear.

Can you even imagine what would happen if they pulled out pink or purple jerseys?

I really don't see parents of boys being happy about that, although it's totally fine to dress our little girls in green or orange or blue. Even if it makes the little girls unhappy.

There's a little girl on Benjamin's team who dresses in pink from head to toe during practice and pouted during their scrimmage match because the coach had her put on a pinny (I can't remember if it was red or blue). "Why can't it at least be purple?" she sulked.

I doubt she was thrilled when they pulled out a blue-camo jersey for her. But she'll have to wear it because she's a girl on a boys team. And the poor little girls will never get to have a purple or pink jersey because society wouldn't dream of handing a pink jersey to a little boy.

But I say, dress the whole team in pink and show them that they can still play soccer. Because pink is just a colour. You can like it or not. It isn't "too girly" or anything silly like that. It's just pink.

If little girls love pink, I think they should at least have the chance to dress in pink to play soccer. Just saying. Also, Benjamin would be over the moon about a pink jersey. And he's a boy. And it doesn't worry me at all because just a colour.

Rachel's pink jersey (she got pink because she was on an all-girls team) finally got too small and was passed down to Miriam (along with her purple one) and Miriam was thrilled. But last year (or the year before?) when Miriam was handed a green jersey I'm pretty sure she thought she was going to die.

Also, coaches, let's not say things like, "Take that ball from her—she's just a girl!" because, uh, you all have girls on your teams and I'm pretty sure that has nothing to do with much of anything.

Girls can be tough soccer players, whether they're dressed in pink or blue. And the same thing is true of boys. But how do we even the playing field there, so to speak?

End of rant.

Here's Zoë wondering why we didn't put her in soccer, too. (Because, Zoë, four kids in soccer would be chaos! That's why.)

After soccer I took the kids to the school carnival, where we met Rachel, while Andrew stayed home to work. And after that he took the little kids to the grocery store while I stayed home to work and the older girls stayed home to shower and relax. Both Benjamin and Zoë fell asleep in the van just before making it to the store (after playing for five hours in the hot sun, I don't blame them) so Andrew sat in the parking lot for a while to let them get in at least a few minutes of nappage.

While he was shopping he was accosted by a little old lady in the dairy aisle. He was reaching for some cheese and she bumped into him with her cart. When she looked up to see what/whom she had bumped into, instead of apologizing, she shook her head and grumbled, "Ugh! Men in grocery stores. That's just not right!"

Andrew said he wasn't sure what to say back, but apparently it was pretty funny. My friend Jana witnessed it and found me at church today so that we could laugh about it again. What else can you do?

Oh, yeah! Rachel's team was invited to a Duke women's soccer game on Friday night. Andrew took Rachel and Miriam to that. I stayed home with Benjamin and Zoë. In a few years I'll have Rachel and Miriam babysit Benjamin and Zoë so that Andrew can take me out on a date (turnabout is fair play, ladies).

Rachel got in for free by wearing her jersey. Miriam and Andrew got in at a discounted price for being cool enough to associate with Rachel (Miriam, you might notice, is wearing Rachel's purple jersey from soccer seasons past). At some point in the game (half-time maybe?) they invited all the girls in Rachel's league down to the field so they could recognize the future of women's soccer.

They let Miriam line up with all the girls, too, even though she's not in that league. You can see a little purple blob in the middle of the orange team, perhaps? That's Miriam. Rachel is the girl right beside her (whether she's the girl on the left or on the right I can't tell).

Even though Duke lost (3-1, apparently), everyone came home happy.

And that is enough about soccer for now!

One crazy Saturday of soccer games more to go. I think...

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