Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Soccer Stars

In Texas, you're behind in sports if you don't start prior to potty training.
People have been telling me this for years but I shrugged it off. I know things are competitive down here in the Lone Star State(see "Cool Moms" posted below) but, seriously now, what insane people put toddlers on the soccer field before they've give up their sippy cups?
It would appear there are many.
In fact, by the time the Big Dawgs creamed the Lightening Bolts last Saturday, it appeared the winners had been on the field together for three years.
A pint-sized Pele and his pal--a wringer for David Beckham--along with their five-year-old teammates, pocketed at least ten goals during our 40-minute game in ice-cold conditions.
I say "at least" because at some point I stopped counting.
Luckily for the parents of the Bolts, the referees don't keep score for the Under Six league. Had they tallied the points, I know that my own sweet William would have sobbed so hard his father would have had to have carried him off the field in a puddle.
While the coaches of the Dawgs were telling their players to "Defend #4! Close in on #7! Cut around #2!" my husband--Coach Jim--and his buddy, Coach Steve, were yelling and pointing "Run LEFT, Honey, run LEFT!" in an attempt to ensure our kids were at least aiming the ball into the correct net.
Reid looked up from the play puzzled; Elizabeth stopped altogether in her tracks; Jack ran over to the sidelines to look for a cookie.
Mind you, our kids are not idiots.
On the contrary, they were holding tough after only one practice. The others had been cancelled due to snowy/soggy/frigid weather. Moreover, some of the kids had never watched a soccer game before, much less played in one. We were still figuring out how to put on our velcroed shin guards, discussing how the game is played, learning what in the heck the whistle was all about.
But by half time, Aiden was kicking big, Reid was defending the goal and Jack, having been fortified by M&M-filled baked goods, was running after the ball with a determined look on his face.
Alas, the opponent continued mounting goals on us.
Not that that mattered to Sydney and William who were defending their fellow Bolts up in the stands. (Yes, there are stands for the Under Six League in Texas.)
According to Sydney's mom, one of the Dawgs was talking trash about the Bolts to Syd and Will.
"We're still winners if we try our hardest," William told the Dawg.
"Right," said Sydney, who then went on to expound on the virtues of good intent and hard work in a manner that would make her kindergarten teacher proud.
Apparently, this sussing shut up the Dawg, who agreed that everyone would be a winner despite the score.
It's true that we lost the game. Yet in the end, we won.
No matter the tally of the season, I think we've already gotten our money's worth.
Go, Bolts!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cool Moms

Whoever says my middle-class North Dallas suburb lacks cultural diversity need only glance at my twins' elementary school.
Why, we have Overprotective Moms. Overscheduling Moms. Overbearing Moms. And, my favorite Mom type of all, Moms of the Oversmart.
Gifted and talented.
And while I am certainly among the many Ugg-booted, cell-phone weilding throngs who idle in a SUV at kindergarten car line, I am proud to say that I do not fit into any of these categories.
After all, my five-year-old twins engage in only one sport per season (that's soccer this spring, as both football and hockey were deemed unsafe). They engage in free play (from 3:30 p.m. until 4:47 p.m. M-F at which point we adjourn to an organic, homemade meal served on BPA-free plates.) They are smart, but not so smart as to be weird. (I permitted William to yell "POOP!" for 12 consecutive minutes yesterday but only after he agreed to name the organs that aid in digestion.)
The final proof: When asked to provide evidence of my children's giftedness for our school district's G&T program, I limited myself to one typed page per child. I recognize that it would have sufficed to simply fill out the two lines provided on the form, but because I am a professional writer, I believe some level of perfection is expected. This accounts for the six hours I spent crafting the essays. (Thanks to those of you who edited them! I owe you each a Starbucks!)
I might add that I was ultra cool when the twins and I ran into the G&T admissions officer outside an Ulta beauty supply store last week. I could have gone on and on about how William correctly identified the nation of origin of the story "The Little Red Hen" as England just the day before. I could have added that Elizabeth is reading "The Mouse and the Motorcycle"--a third grade chapter book--all by herself.
But I'm not that kind of mom, so I didn't mention any of it.
No, I kept it casual: I told the teacher how we're enjoying "Brain Quest" at dinner each night. The "game" is actually a fan deck that offers dozens of questions about history, mathematics and science.
"We challenge each other to see who can answer fastest then my husband and I expand upon the concepts," I told the teacher. "We've completed the kindergarten and first grade cards, so we've moved on to second grade. The cards would be such a welcome addition to your curriculum."
The educator smiled and mentioned something about finding a hairbrush.
I'm sure she took the time to text my advice to the head of the curriculum department as soon as she made her purchase.
In fact, I'd bet my Uggs on it.