By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
I am a lifelong UCLA Bruins fan, I am growing to love the San Francisco Giants, my adopted team, and we have season tickets for USF men’s basketball. But cleats down, my favorite spectator sport is kindersoccer.
Kindersoccer is not quite “soccer” because it is being “played” by first-year athletes, the five- and six-year-olds. There are no real rules. The players travel around the field in a pack, following the ball, kicking randomly, and ignoring any concept of positions or strategies. Once in a blue moon, the ball connects with a foot, meanders through a tumble of pudgy bodies, and makes its way into the net. Everyone cheers. No one boos or screams obscenities. Loyalties are not based on team colors. It’s a field full of pure joy.
I don’t get to experience this very often, because as a non-mom, I am on the sidelines of the sidelines. I’ve told family and friends, “Send me your game schedule! I’d love to come!” and occasional invitations come through. But mostly, they are ignored, I guess because the families are too busy or they don’t think I’m serious in my request. And after I’ve asked a few times, I let it go, because I don’t want to seem pushy or weird.
This. Totally. Sucks.
So to my friends with kids, I repeat: I would love to join you in cheering on the basketball/baseball/soccer/football team this and every season. Your kid gets all the glory, and you might mend a piece of my heart. Everybody wins.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She will never forget watching her nephew make his first hit in his first-ever T-ball game.