Category Archives: Sports

World’s No. 1 Worst Soccer Mom

My toddler just started playing on a soccer team. Of course, by “soccer” I mean allegedly a sport in other parts of the world, and by “team” I mean a loose configuration of tiny humans who run around confused and are desperately trying to avoid playing anything that resembles “soccer.”

It’s super fun (she types wishing there was a sarcasm font).

No, no. Really, it is. Or, at least it would be, if either my son or me had the slightest interest in doing it. But, as it turns out, he is the laziest soccer player in the world and I am the world’s worst soccer mom.   

This toxic combo is especially awful because when it comes to toddler soccer, it’s the parents that do the heavy lifting of the actual soccer playing. We go out on the field with them and help them do the drills and, in my particular case, even hold my son’s hand while we kick soccer balls way too hard in the wrong direction because he is going through a “shy” phase (the quotes here are important because this alleged shyness appears only when we are doing something he doesn’t necessarily want to do). In fact, the only one in the family who seems to enjoy soccer is his baby sister and this is despite the fact she is getting jiggled to death in her baby carrier.

The coaches are great. The parents are great. The other kids are great.

Riker and I just happen to be the worst.

What makes this particularly ironic is that I grew up in a small Ohio town. That alone meant I was pretty much legally required to love sports. To be a devoted fan of sports. Where I’m from, you’re not even allowed to marry someone who supports a rival sports team without written permission from your parents, both head coaches, and a religious leader who supports the same team you do and shows it by ending church service early during the season so you don’t miss the pre-game coverage.

I exaggerate, of course.

It can just be verbal consent.

As a kid in a small Midwestern town, I also did my due diligence and played sports as well. Starting with T-ball and later moving up to volleyball, basketball, track and one season as a truly awful cheerleader. Every season I played a sport and every summer was one long sports camp after the other. I was so busy with sports as a teenager it’s amazing I even had time to illegally drink all that cheap room temperature beer in the middle of a cornfield.

So, see, by all rights I should be a fantastic sports mom. Especially considering I had a fantastic role model. My mom went to all of my games. ALL OF THEM. Freezing track meets in the spring, volleyball games in un-air-conditioned gyms in the early fall, basketball games where my team only scored four points the entire game (true story).

ALL.

OF.

THEM.

And as far as I know, she never once rolled her eyes or complained. Meanwhile, when Riker looks at me during soccer and says “can we go home now?”, I respond “god, I hope so soon.”

Anyone know where I can buy a “World’s Worst Soccer Mom” shirt?

But that ends today. Because my son deserves better. Because he deserves what I had growing up. Because even though I no longer watch sports or play sports or care about sports, all those years of my life devoted to youth sports ultimately made me a better person. And I want the same kind of experience for my kids.

So, I’m going to do what any good woman does for the men in her life. I’m going to fake it. From here on out, I am soccer’s No. 1 fan from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. every Thursday and Friday, Eastern Standard Time. I will cheer and be enthusiastic and keep the eye-rolling to a minimum whenever I hear yet another person yell “DON’T USE YOUR HANDS!” I even bought a soccer ball for my son so we can practice in the park (and by “practice” I mean “run around and kick the ball in random directions until we kick it in the river and it’s lost forever”).

Yes, I will fake it! I will make him think that I love every second of watching him play soccer! Even though technically I’m the one doing the soccer drills while yelling “Look! See how fun this is, sweetie?” while he chases a butterfly and picks his nose!

You know, this experience makes me really glad that my own mother truly did love being at every single one of my gam…oh wait…

Oh…

OOH…

Well played, mom. Well played.

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This is why we need more kids playing sports

As a full-fledged adult now (I have my own CHECKING ACCOUNT…that even on rare occasions has money in it), I can honestly say I’ve never knowingly used algebra or had use for all the crap I had to learn of early Ohio history.

(Want to bring a party to screeching halt? Just mention that more U.S. presidents have come from Ohio than any other state. Believe it or not, this impresses no one).

But there are many other subjects I was forced to learn in school that have paid off mightily. For instance, I iz writter nao. I writ real good. Thanx, Mr. Abbott.

And, perhaps most surprisingly, is the fact that all those skills I learned playing youth and high school sports have finally paid off. All it took was becoming a parent.

So, whenever you hear someone saying sports are pointless and only for dumb meatheads, please show them the following…

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You never forget your first time

This is a bit embarrassing but up until a few days ago, I was a 31-year-old virgin. Yes, I had never been officially “F”-ed. I told myself it was because I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared for the way it would change my life.

But the truth is, I was ready. More than ready. Hell, I had been ready since the day I moved to Boston over two years ago, all bright-eyed and innocent, ready to shed my small town girl image for a sophisticated city gal persona.

I just wasn’t sure if, after all this time, I would even know what to do. If at this point, I would just be making a fool of myself, trying to fit in with everyone else who had vastly more experience with this kind of stuff than I did.

And then, like most things of this nature, one night one thing led to another. Drinks were had. Suggestions were made. Tickets were bought.

And before I knew it, I had lost my cherry to Fenway.

Don’t get me wrong. I had been around a few baseball stadiums at this point so I wasn’t completely innocent. In fact, my fifth-grade teacher was such a die-hard Cincinnati Reds fan that every year he took his class on a field trip to a game. I also once went to a Houston Astros game with not one but TWO of my guy friends. But since we weren’t really fans, it got kind of awkward and no one really knew where to put their hands.

But neither of those times had been like this. Never like this.

Fenway was not gentle. It was not sweet. It didn’t bother with the pillow talk, let alone cuddling.

But it did believe in plenty of foreplay. Stepping onto Yawkey Way before the main event was like stepping back in time, into a street carnival straight out of the 1930’s. All that was missing was a bunch of young boys in newsboy caps rolling a hoop with a stick down the street. I was being seduced on all sides by the sweet sounds of vendors yelling out their wares and being caressed by a thousand touches as already drunk fans barreled into me.

I was in love.

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Sure, call me a masochist if you must, but as it turns out, I like a little pain with my pleasure. And no where was this more abundant than when we got down to business and assumed the position.

You probably already know this, but the seats at Fenway are not for the faint of heart. They are not for the fair weather fan. They are not even for humans. The engineer who came up with these seats not only didn’t have a butt himself, but had also never met anyone else with a human butt in his lifetime.

Judging by the amount of leg room, he also was a hobbit.

Forget water boarding. You want a terrorist to reveal his secrets? Let him sit in one of those Fenway seats through an entire game WITHOUT the saving grace of the seventh inning stretch and watch how quickly that canary sings.

“OK, OK! Yes, I will give you all the names of my fellow terrorists and where our secret weapons cache is. Just please…PLEASE…let me stand. I can no longer feel my lower half, my back is on fire and I will probably never be able to poop normally again!”

But it didn’t matter. I was already emotionally attached. We were still in the very middle of the act, not even the fifth inning yet, and I was already fantasizing about kids. Raising my kids as Red Sox fans. Dressing them up in tiny Red Sox onesies. Bringing them to a game as a family.

I was even ready to make the ultimate commitment of season tickets.

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Of course, after the game, the magic I saw in Fenway started to fade a bit. Leaving was extremely awkward, what with trying to make a graceful exit from the stadium and then trying not to vomit as some drunk fan on the Green Line kept shouting in my face with his rancid beer breath about how awesome the game was and also how he noticed I had boobs. Two of them, in fact.

But I still have faith that Fenway and I can make this work. And I plan to be back for more.

Maybe even switch it up a bit to keep things spicy and go to an early game for a little afternoon delight.