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    Posted March 7, 2011 by
    Albuquerque, New Mexico

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    Confessions of a Soccer Mom (Chapter 2)


    I don't know what made me pick soccer. I just know that when my husband left to go work as a contractor in Ecuador, I was left behind without my dog in a strange house (we were forced to move due to mold throughout the basement area that affected my youngest health) and I had a 3 year old and 5 year old staring at me in misery.


    Our back yard had changed from a nice place to play to a little more than a square that was filled with a patio and not much else. The playground in our apartment complex was one of the most dangerous play areas I had ever seen. Bits of steel and a rickety slide was pretty much the brunt of it. Not much for a kid to really do. So the question of what to do pounded through my head.


    The company I worked for decided to work in conjunction with the YMCA to help offset costs when they shut the corporate gym down. I purused the website and found that they had programs for the kids to get involved in. I lept at the chance to get them into activities. I got them swim lessons and I hoped that they would offer T-ball. Then, I noticed this program of soccer. It was before T-ball season and I hoped it would help tide them over between swim lessons.

    It cost me $45 bucks for the first kid and $35 for the second. I thought that I had found the deal of the century. The cost covered two shirts, two shorts, 6 games, a coach, and a few practices. At least 12 days of them running around, kicking the ball, and having a good time. What could go wrong? A lot, come to find out.


    My first problem, soccer cleats that fit my youngest. They were the hardest thing to find. My kids had small feet in general, but Lindsey had the smallest feet that never seemed to grow. Finding her size in youth size soccer cleats was near impossible. I found baby booties, toddler slippers, but no soccer cleats at any of the sports stores. I was completely devastated until I walked into Walmart. There, in the shoe aisle, were 6 pairs of soccer cleats. They were so small and cute, I about cried in victory and over the complete cuteness factor. I quickly snatched them up and quickly laced both girls up in a pair to make sure they fit. Those girls were so proud of those shoes, they wouldn't let me take them off. We headed off to the sporting goods section and located two pair of extra small shin guards and four pair of extra small soccer socks.


    After we left the store, I don't know who was more excited to get them out there to play. They were walking around the house in their new shin guards and cleats and having a great time. Then I noticed a problem. I forgot soccer balls!!! Back to the store we went, searching for the perfect soccer ball.


    When I got back to the store, I went straight to the soccer balls and was hit with dismay. Soccer balls had sizes. I had no idea which one to get them. Thankfully, the guy in the sporting section knew a bit about what the appropriate size was for the girls. Harmony selected her first Diadora soccer ball and Lindsey just got one that had blue on it. Now they were ready to play, or so I thought.


    We arrived at their first practice and got to meet the coaches. Most of the coaches were highschool boys and girls volunteering at the YMCA. Harmony's coach quickly ushered her off to meet the rest of her team. She was quickly gicking the ball and learning how to do basic traps.


    The young man who drew the lucky, or unlucky, straw to coach a bunch of 3 to 4 year olds looked them up and down and had everyone line up single file and follow him. He had them running all over the field chasing after him until he got to his little patch of grass to coach them. Then he did something very smart. He had each of these kids stand in a line with their ball at their feet and showed them how to kick a ball into a net. He would only let one at a time shoot, and after each shot, he gathered all the kids around to see how that one kid shot the ball and how it was good and how it was bad. By the end of the 30 minute practice, all six of those 3-4 year olds could sink a ball into the back of the net from almost any place on the field.


    By the time the first game came to pass, all three of us were so excited. Harmony invited her entire class at kindergarten to come to include the school principal and school nurse. We had some close family friends come to watch and we had video cameras going non-stop.


    It was so bitterly cold that day. It was so gray and overcast.  I was hoping the girls would have fun in spite of the cold. Harmony's game was first and they were off like little speeding bullets, racing all over the field like fish chasing that one little worm. It was so cute. Then, the very first injury happened. Harmony got taken off her feet by a ball kicked into her face. I was frantic, but she jumped up, wiped the tears away and went after the ball again. My heart did a huge "WHEW!" moment and followed her around with the camera so her father could see what she did while she was away.


    Now, remember how cold I told it was. I had Lindsey wrapped in a blanket and held by a close friend. She was shivering, but she wanted to play too, so when it came time for her to play, she was raring to go. Unfortunately, it was short lived, very short lived at that. She got onto the field, waited for the whistle and did exactly what her coach told them to do. She lined up on the line and shot at the goal and it went in. She jumped up and down and quickly ran off the field and wrapped herself into the blanket again. We had to coax her to come back onto the field, but she was so miserable. Her lips began to turn blue becuase of the cold, so her first game ended in less than 10 minutes as we whisked her inside the YMCA to get her warm.


    The rest of the games were okay. The girls had fun and loved playing. When I asked if they would like to try T-ball, the answer was a resounding 'NO!" and so I was left to try and understand the game of soccer for kids.


    It is hard to believe that from playing a game at such a young age, a love for a sport could be born. With YMCA ball done for the spring, I had to scramble to find out what other options existed for them to play. Who knew how big the sport of soccer had become? I was to be greatly informed and greatly challenged in the next few years as we discovered the next step...AYSO.

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