Dear Soccer Moms,
Remember me? The “new” mom to the league soccer “family?”
Well, let me reintroduce myself. Because it seems I’m invisible lately. And, more importantly, my son is too. There was a time when he was into All Things Magic. So that disappearing act he seems to be pulling three times weekly – two practices and one game – would have been cool.
But, kids do grow up and get a sense of acceptance and exclusion. Know what I mean?
True, my son joined the team this Spring, rather than last Fall, when you were all assembling. Getting to know each other.
Forming bonds. He was with another soccer league for the past six seasons, gaining skills, having tons of fun. He departed for the higher level of competition in your league. Boy was he excited to get a spot on the team!
You see, not only does he lovelovelovelove soccer, he was super psyched to make some new friends. He is most gentle soul I’ve ever known.
He’d have been a good friend to your kids, you know.
Humble too. Compliments? He deflects them by replying to general, “You’re such a polite boy” -ish accolades with, ” Thank you, Mrs So and So, but my parents deserve the thanks. They’re the ones who taught me manners,” and “Thank you. Your kids are just so polite, also!”
Yeah, he’s good kid all right.
But silly me. It took me half a century to unlock this great mystery: Ready? There’s an inverse relationship between kindness and high skill level on the field.
Did you know that? Well, you’re the ones who taught me this, ladies.
Thanks for the lesson.
Wouldn’t it be an example of…oh, I don’t know…humanity? …to show your boys about welcome, acceptance, inclusion?
Just a thought.
Isn’t that a benefit of sports? You know, the whole friend component? Let’s face it, none of our kids could hope to so much as throw a rock into the same realm that claims Pele, or even Carlos Mendes. Or any guy who even tries out for and gets rejected by any pro team within the NASL. Let’s just wrap our brains around that for a sec.
I’ll be happy if my son makes the middle school team next year. And it’s not lookin’ too promising, despite his increasingly strong presence on D. And if he tries and doesn’t make the cut, well that’s life. Have you noticed that when he’s on defense, by the way, The.Opposing. Team. Does. Not. Score?
He’s not a star, but he is an asset to the team, for sure. Even if he was dead weight…well, no excuses. Strong players and train wrecks on the field – – they all deserve our respect and our kindness.
Because, bottom line? The score isn’t what matters. The assists. The defenses. The blocks. None of that.
Nope. It’s the unseen. The unapplauded. The small acts. The important stuff. …….this is the stuff that makes a life.
So let’s all get over ourselves, be happy our kids are developing positive sportsmanship, (cough cough ahem) ball-handling skills and…hey…I know…how ’bout making some friends?? Novel idea?
Maybe it’s because I’m an “older” Mom that I notice the forced finesse with which you ignore my son, me, my husband, at games and practices. Moms, I’m too tired for this. I’m beyond the drama. The cliques. The whispered discussions about the goings-on at that last PTA meeting.
At this point, unlike you, I’m way past Judgey Mom status. C’mon. If I can admit that I was once there, you can admit to still being there. Yes, really.
I don’t care or even pay attention to your 3, 5, or 7 year old’s whiney-ness throughout the game or her tantrums during half time. I don’t care or look askance or even raise an eye brow to your 16-year old son’s suspension because…well who cares why or your 17-year-old daughter’s talked about pregnancy.
Life is hard enough – – no one’s family is white-bread, picket-fence perfect and anyway, who the heck am I to judge you? Sigh, moms, I’m just tired and way past. Way way past.
Maybe I’m used to and because I’ve been homeschooling since 2003, immune to the ‘Uh – how – do – I – interact- with – this – weirdo’ mannerisms when you ask what grade my son is in or who his teacher is, trying to place why in our small district you don’t know this 12-year-old boy and wonder how I must have gracefully gotten out of volunteering for school bake sales since preK or all those Friends of the Arts car washes. Then you learn that we home school.
Though if you went to church regularly, you’d see my son and his older brother on the altar and in the choir, setting up and cleaning up at the annual church barbecue, volunteering for VBS at prep week and as counselors for your little kids every August. They sold you a bus ticket to The March for Life last January and happily accepted your donations for our local Birthright a few times per year as members of our Respect Life Committee.
If you went to library programs you’d have seen him in craft and cooking classes and bookclubs, oh, since he was 2 months old.
If you patronized our local CYO as we did since 2006, when my kids were 6 and 3 1/2, you’d know him, his older brother and my husband, who coached three seasons of sports every year. You’d know me, too, from quasi-managing my sons’ league divisions, ordering your kids’ uniforms, setting up team pictures and trophy day.
We haven’t exactly been in hiding.
So maybe, soccer moms, we are shunned because you think we’re “typical” homeschoolers? Do you think we’re elitist and superior? We don’t. And by the way, there are no “typicals” about educational choice and family lifestyle. We’re not your mainstream media brand of wacko, unsocialized, vegan, organic, GF, denim-jumper-wearing, twelve-seat-van-driving, Christian-fundamentalist, creationist, anti-vax, anti-establishment, scripture-verse-spewing, rosary-bead-wielding, mind-numbed, Stepford-Wife cookie-cutter, homeschooling parents of 12 kids. Is that what you think? That’s so far off the mark. I just can’t even.
But admittedly, since we’re rosary bead junkies who pray daily, I guess we do exemplify some of your Catholic homeschool family “stereotype.” And happily so.
Well, for that matter, I could pigeonhole you, moms of public school kids. Your children must cowtow to the institution, jump through hoops like trained monkeys, exhibit zero creativity, avoid drug dealers gunning to sell a baggie of white powder to them as they exit the bus each day, be little zombies who know only how to fill – in – the – blanks, living their lives yanked by the suffocating vortex of a school schedule.
Well that’s the inflamed consensus of opinion among homeschoolers about you.
Not true, is it? ‘Course not.
I do have one kid in a brick-and-mortar real-life public school and I know what goes on there. Some of it, decent. Some, actually pretty good. Some shameful. None of it, fantastic.
I taught for 15 years in public school too. Don’t kid a kidder. Please don’t. I’ve got the skinny on the good, the bad and the ugly at the local PS level.
So I’m not sure why the snub. I, frankly, don’t care. I gave up caring about two decades ago, what the neighbors think, you know? Maybe back in the 80s or even the 90s or early millennial years, I would have given a thought and wondered if it was me, after all, exuding some sort of elitist homeschool vibe. But I know I don’t.
And hey if you got to know us and found that we’re just not your cup of tea, because, heck, sometimes we’re downright unlikeable….that’s all well and good. Offering a chance is all.
I do, however, care for my son’s emotional well being. He takes it as a personal rejection and it’s all because you just didn’t give him a chance. He would prefer to skip practices and games at this juncture in the season. Wouldn’t you if you were 12?
Wouldn’t you now, at your age…if you were being ignored, despite friendly overtures on your part?
Your son missed out on developing a friendship with an amazing, sensitive, athletic, bright, intuitive, creative, fun kid. All because your preconceived notions and your archaic formula for what-childhood-should-look-like got in the way. Your son would have been and still is, actually, very welcome here for a party, a game night, a movie fest, a campfire.
Next season, if you were worried about being pushed out of your comfort zone into hospitality, generosity of spirit or any of those really scary things you have difficulty with, don’t be. My son won’t be back to your league.
But we’ll be thinking of you and we’ll pray for you. Our kindness didn’t touch you and that’s a true shame. I’m sorry for that because life is short and drama is overrated.
“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” < Proverbs 31:26>
Can’t resist. After all, we homeschoolers are known for annoyingly leaving a trail of Bible verses everywhere, right?
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience < Colossians 3:12>
Copyright 2015 Christine Capolino
Photo copyright 2015 Christine Capolino. All rights reserved.