My husband and I aren’t very sporty so we were surprised when our eldest started showing quite an interest in any and every sport. He’s really into NRL (National Rugby League) but we’re not too keen on him playing that. He’ll sit and watch basketball, tennis, swimming and every other sport if it’s on television. I need to quickly scroll through the channels on the weekend in the hope he doesn’t catch a glimpse of the sports that are on.
This year he joined a soccer team and we’ve just come to the end of the season. Up until then he hadn’t played in a team sport and he was keen to do soccer. Due to the numbers needed, his team is made up of school friends and some new friends he didn’t know prior to starting soccer. I wondered how he’d go with mixing new and school friends and I have to say I’ve loved watching from the sidelines (if I’m not chasing or keeping an eye on the younger one). The kids all come together on a Saturday and it’s like they’ve known each other from way back when even if some of them don’t share the same passion for soccer as my son does!
The age group he’s in this year is the non-competitive group which essentially means the football body doesn’t keep score. But kids being kids, they keep score. My son has always been slightly competitive and I’ve noticed it more since he took up soccer. Not in an aggressive way but in a passionate way. Although there have been weeks we have to tell him to stop arguing with the referee! He absolutely loves soccer and you can see him give 100% in the game. No matter the score at the end, he will always make sure he has shaken the hand of each player from the other team. I recently caught sight of him running off the pitch to shake hands with a player he didn’t get to say ‘good game’ too. As this season comes to an end he’s pestering me to put him down for the competition next year – that’s when the scores start to really matter!
As for me, my husband says I’m now a ‘soccer mum’. I had heard stories of how I would freeze by butt off on the sidelines each weekend because of the cold. How I would need to make sure I had coffee in my hand in a classy tumbler (I don’t drink coffee so that was never going to happen). That you need to be ‘in’ with the parents and not an outsider. Well it turns out, for me anyway, none of this is true. Yes it’s cold on the weekend. It’s winter for crying out loud. Put on a few layers, walk up and down the sidelines a couple of times – or I’m happy for you to chase after my youngest – and you’ll be warm. Coffee at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning? Yes, I get it. Even though I don’t drink it, I know friends who can’t function without having it first thing in the morning. I make sure I have my cup of tea and then I’m functioning. Do they use expensive tumblers? Not that I can see. Some have Keep Cups. Others use the cardboard cups that come from the coffee cart. The parents we didn’t know prior to soccer have been welcoming in conversation and comradery. And no-one is on their phone.
As a soccer mum I will admit I didn’t go to the game every week. Why? Apart from having to occupy our youngest child, I get WAY too excited about the game and I’m one of those mums whose on the sideline shouting advice to my kid whose on the pitch! I laugh when I remember back to the first few weeks and my husband would move away ever so slightly from me when I started to voice my excitement! Hmmm, maybe that’s were our son gets his competitiveness comes from.
Being a soccer mum is not what I expected and I have to admit I like it. I like that my son is involved in sport; not only for the team bonding/give it a go palaver but because he’s out in the open, running around and getting some exercise. We all share who brings the cut up oranges each week. We all encourage each child to give it a go. The parents, mainly the dads, do the coaching. Maybe it will change next year when we get into the competitive grade. For now, I’ve got some new insights into the soccer game, met some really nice parents and kids, and have realised how much our son loves having his family on the sideline watching him – even if I offer him advice he doesn’t want! The sausage rolls and egg and bacon rolls at the end of the match may also entice me there on occasion.
Are you a ‘sports mum’?
What’s been your experience on the sidelines?