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Mia Hamm, Your Job Is Safe

A few weeks ago the girls’ school began teaching soccer in gym class and for whatever reason Maddie got bitten by the soccer bug. She’s managed to spend her whole young life assiduously avoiding team sports, but this time around a light’s switched on and she wants desperately to play.

Of course, by the time she came to this realization all the spring soccer leagues were already under way, so Brian stepped up and offered to do a once-a-week practice at a nearby field for Maddie and some friends. No games on Saturdays, no competition, just getting together once a week to work on soccer skills and have fun.

Last night was the first practice.

Cora wanted to join in, so I sent Brian and the girls off to the field while I got dinner ready for the future hungry athletes. Once everything was prepped I headed out to join them, and I wandered up to the sidelines where a couple friends of mine were standing and watching their daughters practice with mine.

“How’s the practice going?” I asked one friend.

“Well,” she answered laconically, “I’m having flashbacks to The Bad News Bears. But in a good way,” she smiled.

I followed her gaze and could immediately see what she meant.

There was one girl (mine) who wanted only to practice with one specific ball because it was pink. And shiny. Then there was another girl (also mine) who kept whining every ten minutes for a water break, and argued every drill with the coach: “But why do I have to kick the ball between the cones? What if I want to kick it in that direction instead?” Or “If it’s about to go out of bounds, doesn’t it seem to make more sense if I just catch it with my hands? Do we really need to follow ALL the rules?”

You get the picture.

The other girls (not mine) were, thankfully, less argumentative but also relative newcomers to soccer and I watched them scamper like disorganized puppies for the next twenty minutes or so. They seemed to have a fantastic time, which I suppose is the point, and ended practice by heading over to the basketball court and shooting some hoops.

With the soccer balls.

Which I think just about sums our team up.

We’re in this purely for fun, and I think we’re hitting the nail on the head. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and at the end of the night the girls crashed hard, going early to bed with nary a whimper.

Thank you, faux soccer practice.


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