My first, and only, experience with soccer prior to 1998 was sitting in the frozen bleachers to watch a girl who I had an enormous crush on but, tragically, had no idea that’s what it was, play. Was she any good? More worryingly, did I even tell her I was there? My only memory of the game is that I spent it shivering. Nice start in the romance department, self.

A handful of years and a new city later, I was playing on two co-ed adult teams as one of two token females because, “well, we have to have at least two girls to get to play.” I don’t suspect I was any good. I have terrific aim but I hate to run. That same summer, I was spending afternoons skipping out of State Department Portuguese homework and watching the World Cup in a local pub with other diplomat delinquents. My friend Matthew, a perplexing combination of American diplomat and British accent, took my football schooling to heart. We dated once or twice, maybe, but I admit I was dating the soccer fan, not the boy. Outside of the sunny pub and sober, he lost some of the shine.

In 2002, I was in Mozambique, ground to pieces by my job. I have almost no memory of those weeks beyond turning my TV out the window every day so that the guards at my house could watch from the yard. The woman I was dating had no use for soccer and, as it turned out, I had no use for that woman. It also turns out that I lost a few more years getting past my job and her to life now (and thank goodness that’s done).

More than a decade later, I am taking my daughter to soccer class and watching her learn to handle the ball. Or rather, I am taking my daughter to class and watching her consider the ball and then lay in the grass counting clouds. She tells us, I yove soccer, mamas. And then she weeps because you are not yistening to me! and I am too hot! and we are perplexed because she’s not telling us anything at all and, baby, we are also TOO HOT. This evening I’ll no doubt be watching birds, counting clouds, and investigating beetles with her instead of playing soccer and, sadly, instead of watching the opening match.

There’s probably a whole post here, in and of itself, about my daughter inexplicably opting out of things, but it turns out the World Cup is on so it will have to wait for another time.


2 Responses

  1. It’s been my experience that three & four year olds really would rather see what’s going on in the grass than actually play soccer. Eventually, they get it, but not until they are much, much older.

    I’m not a soccer fan, although I’m a soccer mom. I really only like to watch my kid play.

  2. My husband is a soccer Fan and now my little boy wants to be a professional fotball player. We bought him a real leather soccer ball and said ”all right then you got to practice every day.” We went to ‘play’ with him, but he didn’t understand why he had to pass the ball. He just wants to kick it around all by himself. Now a year later he wants to play on a team because he sees the ‘big boys’ practicing outside. Then I realized, he thinks these preteens who are just having fun in the yard are professionals.

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