Allow me to introduce you to the soccer moms.
No, I'm not referring to kiddie-carpool-drivers (although we do that, too). These soccer moms actually play.
This fall, I was invited to join a womens county rec soccer team. We were assigned super-intimidating matching baby blue t-shirts and named "The Defenders." Most of the team was over thirty and hadn't hit the field in a loooong time (or ever, in some cases).
We were assured we'd be up against other "mom teams" like ours -- not so. We about backed away slowly when we caught sight of the other teams, much younger and more competitive and had obviously played together before. It was a harrowing, hilarious moment.
We played teams like "The Tequilas" in pink, whom I'm pretty sure just showed up after their college team practice. When I was brave enough to admit to my teammates that I got nervous diarrhea before every game, it was a relief to hear the others did too.
I'd like to say we really showed those whippersnappers. Truth is, we got crushed. Every week. Totally creamed. 5-0, 7-0, 7-0... We never scored. Injuries, too: our coach tore her ACL in the first thirty seconds of play, I sat out two games with a sprained ankle, another girl sprained her ankle, and there were a bevy of bruises and ridiculously sore muscles.
But gosh, it was fun. And we got better. Still no scoring, but more confidence and less diarrhea and more fun.
Then our last game before playoffs, we actually held the teal team to no score in the first half -- and then the second. A TIE!
Guess who our opponents were for playoffs? The same teal team! "We can do this!" we told ourselves. "We can take 'em! We tied them last week, let's win this one! Let's get our first goal of the season in our last game!" We played our little mommy hearts out and same first half -- no score. Second half -- no score.
Because it was the playoffs, a tie wouldn't suffice, so we went to penalty kicks: three player from each team each got a chance for a one-on-one shot against the opposing goalie. Very strategic.
After one missed goal for our team and two for the others, I stepped up and asked for a chance. I scored a goal! Now I know why little kids expect a reward for scoring a soccer goal -- I was so proud of myself, I thought I deserved an ice cream sundae!
We ended up winning the game, but here's the funny part -- we hadn't anticipated staying late for Playoff Round 2, hadn't arranged babysitters. So we forfeited after all!
Ah well, next year. Back to babies and carpools and meal plans.
But not before teaching our kids important lessons, like how to make orange slice smiles.
This opportunity had a greater affect on us than we expected. Post-season, we talked about how young and healthy and happy we felt by participating in a competitive outdoor sport like we did as kids. And the positive benefits of teamwork weren't lost on us; we became better friends, more united. Plus, our kids thought we were celebrities. Looking forward to spring season -- and hoping we don't have to wear powder blue again.
Team name ideas, anyone?