I have been known to call myself a “soccer mom” before, and have been referred to as one by others, but I never really understood or accepted the full impact of the phrase until recently.
I erroneously thought that my moniker was derived from having a kid who plays soccer and simultaneously owning a minivan in which I transport multiple children to and from practices and games. What I have come to realize is that this is only a small part of what makes me a Soccer Mom. And while it was a label I wore with disdain a short time ago, it is now something with which I am increasingly more comfortable and, dare I say it, proud.
Yesterday, while watching my son’s team battle to a hard fought tie on the field, I realized: I love to watch these kids play. Sure, there are moments when it’s frustrating to watch, but there are even more when it is completely exhilarating. Best of all are the looks on their faces when a goal is scored. It doesn’t matter who scores, they all rejoice as if they themselves had scored. This is the power of a team sport.
The beauty of watching your kid play is not necessarily in watching them experience the glory of the victory, as one might expect. For me, the real beauty in the “beautiful game” is watching how kids, my kid in particular, handle the tough times. The times when the ref misses the call, the times when the other team scores a freak goal and takes the game, the times when they just run their hearts out and still get pounded into the dirt with a lopsided defeat. In those moments I see the biggest victory of all. It’s the fact that my son can walk off the field with a smile, knowing he left everything he had on the field and that he stood by his team.
So yes, I’m a soccer mom. Not because I drive a minivan, not because I wash uniforms or clean cuts and scrapes sustained on the filed, but because my heart is in the game. Because when I watch those boys on the field, I feel like I am there with them, and I experience their joy and their pain with them. Sure, I jump and yell and cheer, I have to. I never understood someone who could sit and watch a game (any game) without having full-body involvement. But at the end of the day, for me, it really is about how they play the game. Winning is just a nice bonus!