To Play Soccer You Have to Have Some Balls
With world cup fever hitting the world, we thought we’d touch on how sports have shaped one blogger’s life. Plus a few juicy sports confessions.
Where I grew up, there was nothing more quintessential to an American childhood than playing soccer. Spring, summer, and fall were spent endlessly running drills, and kicking the ball back and forth across the field. I was good, but never great, and I think that’s why my enthusiasm started to wane when I reached my teens. There was nothing fun about being a mediocre player. The really good kids (and their parents) hated the fact that you were standing in the way of their greatness. I was a scrappy player who definitely threw a few elbows in my day. I think I was actually handed a red card at one point, though I insist that it was a complete overreaction.
Gradually I quit playing soccer and focused my time doing sports that I was great at. But one thing remained consistent across all the sports that I played; overbearing parents. We all knew the type: The parent that came to every practice and every competition. I should know best, my mom was actually my swim coach. There were parents that were far worse, the parents who made you feel that your future (and their kid’s future) depended on every race. My day would start before 5:00 a.m. and often wouldn’t end until after 11:00 p.m. Sure I learned positive life skills, like time management, and determination, but I feel like I missed an essential part of my high school years. Sports became my life, and when your life becomes about winning, the fear of failure becomes overwhelming.
In my junior year of high school, I started to be recruited for college scholarships. I was offered a few, and I accepted a tidy offer from a small mid-western college. But as my graduation date came and went, and the summer wore on, I became increasingly anxious about competing in college. The fears raced through my about not being good enough, and completely selfish thoughts were there too. I dreaded having to wake up every morning, and go to practice. I wanted to go to a frat party and get rip roaring drunk, and not worry about being hung over for practice. I wanted to sit in the quad and shove ice cream in my face until I thought I was going to puke, and not have someone telling me that I had gained too much weight. Because nothing ruins a teenage girl’s self esteem like telling them that if they ate that candy bar, they’d be no good at sports.
My track coach told me that fifteen years ago, and I still think about it. Thanks, Mr. K. Being a horribly cheeky child, I brought a bag of skittles to a weigh in once, and when I stepped on the scale, I dropped some skittles and said, “Damn, I’m so fat, when I sat on a rainbow skittles popped out.”
He was not amused and it landed me penalty laps, but I took from it a small amount of satisfaction.
As all these thoughts ran through my head, I panicked.
“I gave up a full ride at a prestigious university, and payed through the nose at an even more prestigious university just so I wouldn’t have to play sports”
Although I feel the monthly pain of student loan payments, I still feel I made the right choice.
As my husband and I broach the idea of having kids, I often think if I would have them play sports. My experiences were not all bad, and I had fun some of the time. I was, and still am in great shape, and I lead an active lifestyle, but I just don’t know if I could do that to them. There are so many parents that push their children so hard. Sports are suppose to be fun, but I so often hear about how so and so is hoping their child will be the next Freddy Adu or Tiger Woods circa 2008.
Sports are a huge topic for the Truu community. I can’t help but wonder if these two confessions are secretly related:
“My seven-year-old DD hates her dance class, but I make her take it, because I think she’s adorable wearing her tutu”
“I have to go to my niece’s recital in an hour. SIL forces her to take dance and the poor girl hates it. She really isn’t good at it and she would rather play soccer. Now I have to spend the next four hours gushing about how great the performance was. We all sit around playing this game. I think I’m going to offer to pay for soccer for her next birthday.”
Tell us the worst thing you’ve ever witnessed at one of your child’s sporting events in the comments below!