Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Soccer November 8, 2011

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.

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6 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About Soccer”

  1. RuralRabbit Says:

    I’m the same way, I love to cheer on kids, regardless if they are mine or not. I am the bookkeeper/scorekeeper for all of the basketball games for our high school. I LOVE it! It allows me to be involved, but without the weirdness. And, they pay me a little bit per game, so that always helps. Our school is always looking for people to be scorekeepers, line judges, help with track meets, etc. It’s so worthwhile.

  2. loribeth Says:

    Oh, this is so true. Dh & I repeatedly expressed interest in attending at least an occasional soccer/T-ball/hockey game/karate or figure skating competition for our two nephews (who live almost an hour away, but we could have gone on a weekend…) & the two daughters of his cousin, who live only a few blocks away from us. Nobody ever asked us to come, or responded to our expression of interest with a concrete offer or schedule. (We did attend the one cousin’s daughter’s grade school play, & it was a hoot.) I didn’t push the matter too much — for awhile, I figured we would be doing those kinds of things with our own kids anyway. Of course, the years went by, we never did have kids, the kids have grown up & now it’s too late. 😦 Guess we’ll just have to wait for the grandnieces & nephews & pursue the opportunity then. ; )

  3. gracecb25 Says:

    Wow this post really touched me. I am in the same boat as you. I have always planned on having my children involved in activities however I have not been blessed with children, yet. Usually the sister-in-laws on my husbands side sends us a copy of the kids schedules for various sports. Recently I found out that my nephew played a whole soccer season and we were not invited to any of the games. I have to say I was somewhat offended.

  4. Mali Says:

    This really speaks to me. I was very sporty as a child and teenager, and would have loved being involved in sports with my own children. I was enthusiastic about watching my friend’s child play netball, and then her son play soccer. The number of times I asked her to let me know where and when they were playing – I never got an answer and now M is 14 and I don’t honestly know if she still plays netball or not. I could have been their number one support, I could have coached (I know, I still could) or helped them coach her teams. Their loss, but mine too.

  5. I still remember the first time we attended my nephew’s little league game and the way his face lit up when he saw us on the sidelines. I saw the same joy and pride in my neice’s face when we arrived to watch her cheer her JV high school football team. The parents around us in the stands usually look perplexed when my brother introduces us as the aunt and uncle …

    • Kathleen Guthrie Woods Says:

      I get the same odd look. We happened to be in my brother’s neighborhood on Halloween day, and he invited us to join them at the kids’ elementary school parade. It was a hoot! But we did get a few “You must be a really special aunt and uncle” comments that didn’t entirely sound like compliments. What is up with that?


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