Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Confessions of a Soccer Mom - Grove

There is a commercial on TV that makes me laugh. An office working woman puts her money into the vending machine, but the thing malfunctions and she doesn't get her treat. She nearly walks away, but a co-worker steps up and says something to the effect of, "Go get it! That's your tasty treat! Go, go, go!" Soon another co-worker joins the fray and together they cheer her on as she assaults the machine, pounding and kicking, throwing her weight against it, until, at last, victory! She retrieves her treat from the vending machine and the co-workers cheer hard, arms raised, red-faced, and glowing. The scene fades and the words "Cheering Works" fill the screen. (It's an ad for some sports team in the US, encouraging fans to come out and support their team).

The sentiment holds true. Cheering works.

Last night we (hubby, me, The Amazing Benjabean, and Princess McGilla, that's here there, smiling at you, decked out in full princess gear) marched to the park to witness the clash of the wee little titans. Heather (our daughter, better known as Princess McGilla, for reasons that are too silly to go into), age 5 was joining her team, The Lynx, in facing off against another team of 5 year olds (don't know their names, but they had lovely red jerseys and fell down a lot).

Hubby and I set up our chairs, kissed our daughter, fortifying her for the big battle ahead. She raised her trembling chin, put on a brave face, grabbed a ball and headed for the field. Ben ran off to a nearby playground.

The game began! The children were off like a herd of turtles! On the red team a smaller child began crying for reasons that have yet to be determined. Another child kicked at the ball, missed and fell down. On our team (the blue team), a tall (relatively speaking) blond girl ran rough shod over everyone, even her own team mates. In response, a boy on our team began rolling around on the grass and throwing it in the air. A second boy, realizing he had a captive audience in the adults lining the field, broke into a dance routine that ended with a fantastic display of jazz hands. The only two children who remembered they were there to play soccer scored goal after goal, running up and down the field breathless and flushed.

The coaches, young, seemingly healthy young men, were helpless in the face of so much juvenile shenanigans.

What to do?

Hubby and I looked at each other and smiled. And then we started cheering for the kids. Anytime a child, ANY child made contact with the ball we hollered our joy. When someone kicked the ball in the general direction of the goal we stomped out feet, clapped our hands and shouted, "Good job! Way to go!"

The other parents seemed dazed. Bewildered. Then, slowly, a few of them began to cheer as well. The response was amazing. Children began waving from the field, bowing shyly, and one or two blew kisses. We cheered louder. I would have thrown roses if I'd had some. Suddenly the whole place was lit up with cheering. With parents who were shouting out their love to their children. The children started running faster, not necessarily in the right direction, but still. . .

The boy who had been picking grass was now grabbing great handfuls of it and throwing it in the air, a make-shift ticker tape parade. The boy who had been dancing was now doing an impressive soft shoe quite near the ball (at one point I shouted out to him, "Jaben! You are wonderful, but you are employing the wrong skill set. He smiled and blew me a kiss).

And my daughter? My lovely, sweet faced cherub? She ran harder, faster, and longer than anyone out there. She kicked the ball, scored a goal, kicked the shins of another child, ran in the wrong direction, and bonked heads with a team mate. And when the game was over she was smiling.

We were all smiling. Kids, parents, exasperated coaches. All smiling. We had just had a wonderful time. Kids were hugged, water was guzzled, atta-boys abounded.

Cheering works.

Who can you cheer for today?
Bonnie Grove

1 comment:

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Now that's a great pick-me-up! Thanks for sharing!

I'm discovering that many authors cheer exhuberantly for other authors and even authors-in-training (the ones not yet published). It's those special authors that encourage and inspire us to continue on the race to write well.

It's wonderful to have a Canadian Writer's blog to visit. Keep up the great posts!

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