I am a soccer mom. And I gotta say, it’s starting to be a real buzzkill.
The game is fine. My son runs around, he gets a jersey, he gets exercise, he gets a snack, who could ask for anything more?
But about that snack. We parents received this email from the league:
No donuts. It’s soccer. Breakfast before, lunch after. Snacks should be limited to fruit and water.
Wow. Way to recognize all the parents who have been volunteering to drag two shopping bags full of drinks and snacks all the way from their apartments (this is New York City, after all- no cars, no trunks). They have given their time, their money, and whatever they bring is always fallen upon by kids acting like they have never eaten in their lives.
And by the way, wouldn’t we all be thrilled if our kids’ sports teams said “no snacks”? Or if they told everyone to bring their own water bottle? But to arm-twist us into “volunteering” snacks for a dozen Manwich appetites-and then to send a snotty email because some kid’s mom brought Munchkins- seems a little ungrateful. Even the kids remember to say thank you once in a while.
But that was two weeks ago. Last week we soccer parents got this one:
Please be reminded that this week is Silent Soccer. We are not asking you NOT to cheer for your players. We are simply asking you to do so in a silent manner.
So, sometime this week, stop at the store and pick up some poster board and markers. Talk to your player about what they do best on the field and make a special sign for them. Decide to use the gesture of hands up in the air and waving to celebrate a goal!
Yes, parents! Add that trip to the art store to your yawningly boring weekday! Why not “decide to use the gesture” that we are strictly prescribing you use? Please be reminded that using only one hand in the air, pumping it with closed fist, has already been co-opted by Arsenio Hall circa 1990 and is NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR SILENT SOCCER USE.
But even this was not enough. Some parents apparently continued to behave in ways highly embarrassing to both themselves and the sport their second-grader claims to love, because last week, we received an emailed list of
South Side Soccer League No-Nos
No-nos. Because we are best addressed at the preschool level. I’ll spare you the whole list but this one was new:
4. No verbs. Support your kids as they play but without instructions. Try losing the verbs.
7. Enjoy all the interesting parents who are cracking up at their creative attempts not to use verbs.
Too bad the “interesting parents on the sidelines” are looking for whoever wrote this email so they can tell them where to shove these “creative attempts.” Oh wait, “shove” is a verb. So they can tell whoever wrote this email… it
sucks… it is insulting to our intelligence… hoo boy, am I cracking up! What fun!
Why does everything our kids do have to be so over-thought, over-programmed, needlessly strict? When I was growing up, as long as there wasn’t more than three inches of snow on the ground, there was a pickup wiffle-ball game in my backyard every day after school. The bases were dirt patches. No refs. We drank Hugs. We used verbs.
That way of life seems Leave-it-to-Beaver-distant now. We don’t have a backyard, and the last time I checked, you need a permit to play wiffle ball in the park. But I feel duty-bound, as my children’s mother, to help them remember that the reason they are playing sports is that they- and all of us- are supposed to ENJOY it. And I’m not sure treating the parents and players like recalcitrant toddlers will get any of us there.
So watch for me on the soccer field this weekend. I’ll be the one saying “Go, Seamus!” Why yes, that was a verb. And I might yell it like, really loud. Heck, I might even bring Munchkins.