Today I'm talking about soccer. I got the idea to do a soccer favorites post after reading this blog and her love of watching her son play baseball. So, yes, I'm shamelessly stealing her idea.
If you had told me 11 years ago that I'd be a mom to two boys, willingly drive a mini van, and follow my children around the state of California to watch them play club soccer, I'd have fallen over from laughter. I mean, seriously, a van? (I always say I LOVE the van when we are all in it and there is plenty of room. I HATE being in the van by myself. There is no way to look cute in a van. It screams soccer mom. And that's okay, but still.)
My poor van got T-boned by an idiot running a red light.
Lots of space for my legs!
Anyhow, the point is, my life is definitely not what I thought it would be...thank goodness! Even after having two boys, I never dreamed they would be in competitive soccer. My sister and I did not play soccer. According to my mom, we didn't want to give up our Saturday mornings to run. Ewww! So imagine my surprise when my oldest not only wanted to play, but he was really good.
This is just the beginning!
And then imagine my surprise when we made the switch from recreation school league to competitive travel league. It's probably a good thing I didn't know what was coming, because I would have been afraid. Change is best in small doses!
Here are my favorite things about soccer.
1. Watching my kiddos play!
I have to say, it is the coolest thing watching them out there on the soccer field (or any sport). Both of my boys are very athletic. I used to be afraid to say that, because every parent thinks their kids are amazing. However, when other people started commenting on the kids' abilities, I started to believe that maybe Evan and Hudson had some skills. And they do. And I'm thinking they don't get it from me!
2. The spirit of the game of soccer.
Soccer was a completely new sport to me six years ago. I had no clue about the rules, the refs, the culture, etc. It's a interesting sport where you sit three feet from the edge of the field. Tensions can run HIGH! Parents can get aggressive. Kids can get mad at the refs. I don't know about the rest of the country, but in Fresno/Clovis, soccer is huge and there is also a large Hispanic influence. Often times there's lots of yelling in Spanish, and I don't know what's going on. Now, even if I can't understand, I'm so used to the game that I can generally tell why someone is mad!
3. The food.
Soccer food? Huh? Yes! Let me explain! Again, this is a reference to the Hispanic influence of the game in this area, but pretty much anywhere we play, we can find a person selling food out of a little cart often attached to a bicycle. I was never a person to purchase food from a rolling cart...until now! My two favorite items are Mexican corn and pinwheels. The corn is on a stick, slathered in mayo, parmesan cheese, and sprinkled with lime and chili sauce. Oh heavens it is good! The pinwheels have a Spanish name that I can't remember, but they are orange crunchy things that I get sprinkled with lime and chili sauce. So tasty! My other favorite thing to get when we are at the bigger tournaments are rico tacos. Those are the little baby tacos with carne asada that cost like one dollar each. The best!
4. The families.
We have developed some great friendships over the years with the other soccer families. My oldest son's team, I have a feeling, is rather unique in the way we all get along and enjoy each other's company. I have heard this isn't always the case. I'm hoping my younger son's team develops this sense of closeness. We have the best time at tournaments when we stay at hotels. There's usually lots of laughing, drinking, and eating! I rely on these other parents many times to pick up my kids for practice if both Eric and I have meetings. We come together for each other. Just last week, we all met to pay our respects to the goal keeper's family on the loss of his great grandma.
These are fun. We get to travel. We get to stay in hotels. We get to eat out. And we get to enjoy watching the kids play and win! Now granted, not all of our travel has been to exciting places, but we did do the tournament in Las Vegas. That's always fun! We are part of Nor Cal (Northern California), so most of our traveling is north. I like heading into the Sacramento area for games. They have some nice complexes for play. We also did a tournament in Los Angeles at the Stub Hub Center where the L.A. Galaxy soccer team plays. That was exciting!
Playing at the Stub Hub.
Does soccer consume our lives? Yeah, it does. But it's okay because both boys truly enjoy playing, they like their friends, they like the competition, and it gives us plenty to do! There are times when the schedules get overwhelming. My husband manages both of the boys' teams and he gets swamped at times with all the details of paperwork, money, and organizing games and practices. Still, neither of us would change what we are doing. Maybe, just maybe, there will someday be a Forcey kiddo on a pro team! Hey, someone's kid has to make it big!