Being a Soccer Parent
When I first heard the term “soccer mom” I had to chuckle. It was a term used during a presentation to describe a demographic of parents with children involved in extra-curricular activities. While not specifically oriented towards one gender or one type of event the term usually invokes images of a mother with a minivan taking a small village of kids to a park for practice or games.
Trina and I decided early in our son Dakota’s life that we needed to get him involved in some sort of sporting event if we were going to survive. While we successfully dealt with four daughters, raising a boy was a lot different.
For one, boys seem to have a lot more energy than the girls had. It’s not normal energy either; it is a lot more destructive. Not in a malicious way but just in general it is a lot rougher. Add to the fact that dad is a kit a heart and Trina suddenly found herself surrounded by carnage and damage around the house.
While everyone first assumes that the sport we would have selected would be baseball given my history and past experience; it was soccer which we chose to become involved with. I played soccer when I was younger and thoroughly enjoyed the game. Soccer was also more of a year around sport here while baseball was more seasonal.
At an early age we signed Dakota up for soccer. The first year I volunteered to coach, something that would age me by decades. I had forgotten what it was like to try and corral 10 small boys onto a soccer field. There weren’t positions like I played. Instead there were two positions, have ball and don’t have ball.
After that first season I decided that I would focus on other aspects of the game to volunteer my time and leave the coaching to those with more patience than I had. Dakota developed an appreciation for the game and loved playing.
As long as he was having fun, Trina and I continued to encourage him to play. He has now been playing soccer for half of his life and has become a very good player. As he has progressed so has our involvement with the team and the league.
Trina or I have volunteered in different capacities and continue to support Dakota and the team. He is now playing on a select team which is the equivalent to an all-star team. As his team has gotten better I have developed a new appreciation for the role of soccer parent.
These young boys have practices on Tuesday each week for two hours. They are given drills to do at home between practices. On Thursday evenings he has games throughout the valley. This usually requires us to pack up the car and leave shortly after work being gone sometimes until late in the evening.
The team also has games on Saturdays all across the valley. Some of these games require us to be at the field by six or seven o’clock in the morning making week-end sleeping in a physical impossibility.
Twice a month the team has tournaments which include two or three games in a single day. This will go on for two or three days straight. There are uniforms to wash, water bottles to fill, snacks to pack, and of course transportation.
The funny thing is there are 18 families on this team doing the same thing week in and week out from August through May every year. Even during the months when the boys are not involved with the team there are soccer camps they attend.
I used to laugh at the term soccer parent thinking it was a silly term but I have learned that it is a badge of honor that these parents gladly wear. They stand on the sidelines and cheer these young boys whether they are winning or losing.
They are sacrificing their time and money so that they sons and daughters can experience the thrill of being involved in a team sport. So each year when the season ends and we attend the end-of-year party to celebrate the conclusion of the matches; it is the parents who deserve to get the trophies for all they do to make it possible for soccer leagues all over the country to be successful.