First of all, I’d just like to point out that googling “soccer mom” images is not for the faint of heart. I didn’t get very far before I decided I was better off creating my own non-pornographic meme. (And in other news, I’ve recently learned how to create memes.)
Also, why is this man wearing this shirt?
The soccer mom. In most people’s imaginations, she’s either the mini van-driving, mom jeans-wearing, orange slice-toting type or the hot chick who shows up to the field in her Italian heels and her tight team t-shirt that has become the stuff of legends and fantasies.
I hate to break it to you, but most of us fall somewhere in between.
I am 19 years and 4 kids into this parenting thing, and aside from a small brush with soccer when Sydney was 5 (my husband’s boss talked us into putting her onto an all-boys team he was coaching) I managed to avoid being a true soccer mom until very recently.
This spring Zoe tried out for and made a select soccer team. She had done 2 years of rec soccer and decided that she was dropping the ice skating lessons and softball to do soccer year round. This is her sport.
Year round select soccer is no small commitment- financially or time-wise. But she’s my first kid who is really invested in a sport, and I want to make sure to support my kids in anything that they feel passionate about.
Zoe played in several tournaments this summer, along with a week long camp and regular practices twice a week. Her final tourney of the summer was this past weekend. Originally they were supposed to play in a tournament closer to us (about 15 minutes away) but that tournament wanted her team to play up a level and the coach didn’t feel that was in the best interest of the girls. He signed them up instead to play a tournament on an island just west of Seattle.
When I found out about the change I remember thinking to myself, “You probably should book a hotel.” And then I forgot about that very wise thought. I remembered again about a week and a half before the tournament. Turns out the island only has 3 hotels on it, and concurrent to the tourney were several weddings, a large memorial, a wine festival and a bike race.
There was no room at the inn. Or anywhere within 45 minutes of the field on which she was supposed to report at 730am Saturday morning.
The island can only be accessed two ways from our home- by ferry from downtown Seattle, or by ferry up north, and then driving down the peninsula, across a bridge onto the island. When I found out all the hotels were booked and the closest available was 45 minutes away, I looked into taking the ferry every morning. In order to make an 8 am game, We had to leave our house at 430am. That just was not going to happen.
I gave in and booked the hotel that would require a bit of a morning drive.
The next day, when I picked Zoe up from soccer camp, she couldn’t locate her bag. By the time everyone but the coaches running the camp had cleared out, all that was left was a #10 bag, while Zoe is #40. We guessed that #10 had misread the bag and grabbed Zoe’s by mistake. The coaches reassured us it would be returned and we gave them the #10 bag for safe keeping until camp the next day.
At the end of that practice, I asked the coaches if they had located #10 (she’s on another team from my daughter) and they pointed her out to me. She was loading her stuff into the #10 bag they had returned to her.
I went over and asked her if she knew anything about Zoe’s bag. She said, “I realized halfway home that I grabbed the wrong bag.”
I said, “So what did you do with it?”
She said, “Oh, I brought it back later.”
I said, “Who did you give it to?”
She looked blankly at me and said, “No one. I left it on the field.”
” You left her bag on the field at a public park overnight? With all her stuff in it?”
She just looked at me. The two coaches looked incredulous. I was steaming mad.
The coaches once again tried to reassure me that someone would have grabbed it and it was probably in the lost and found.
I called the club manager- no bag. I called the parks dept- no bag. The lady at the parks dept said, “But I do have a note here that a #10 bag is missing.” Which means the mom of #10 was conscientious enough to report her own daughter’s bag missing, but not to NOT leave my daughter’s bag unattended all night.
Suddenly it dawned on me- Not only were her goalie gloves, practice jersey and customized team track suit in that bag, so was her blue uniform. And she had a tournament in one week. A tournament that I had just paid $300 for two nights in a hotel room for her to play in. I started going sideways. I wanted soccer mom #10’s head on a platter.
Thankfully, this past Monday, a coach reported the bag had been found, and he just hadn’t gotten around to telling anyone. I was too relieved to be annoyed.
Wednesday after practice Zoe and I were discussing the tournament. She told me that her assistant coach, Brittney, wasn’t going to make the tournament because she had nowhere to stay.
I said, “We booked two queen beds in our hotel. Email her from my phone and tell her that she’s welcome to stay with us if she wants.”
After she returned my phone I said, “What did you say in the email?”
Zoe said, “I put hey in the subject, and then said you’re welcome to share our hotel room for the tournament.”
I looked at my email inbox and suddenly my stomach dropped. Instead of Brittney’s email that was queued up, her head coach’s email was. And he’s not a she. He’s an attractive and married “he.”
My voice shaking I said, “Zoe, I think you just invited Rich to stay in our hotel room. From my email account.”
“What?!? Oh my gosh!” but she was laughing. I was not laughing.
I started loading my sent messages, praying that that was not the case. Thankfully, she had sent it to the right email. If she hadn’t, it would have made for a very long and awkward year.
We left Friday afternoon for the trip south. We sat in traffic through two ferries before we finally made it on.
This was Zoe’s:
We got onto the peninsula and headed south towards the hotel. The hotel itself was fine, but I don’t know about $150 a night. It had a water view…
…If you could look past the ugly parking lot and billboards.
We decided to head back north a bit to the mall to get pedicures and dinner. We ended up at Red Robin so that I could watch the second half of the Seahawks game. Zoe videotaped my reactions to the football game and then put them to music with a new video app on her phone. She asked me questions about when her father and I started dating. I gave her the edited version, of course, but she was fascinated by the dramatic story. (It wasn’t that dramatic, but to a 9 year old who sees her parents as always having been married, it was like a soap opera.)
We stopped off at Walgreens to grab some water and snacks. I also got myself some new earrings. Yes. Earrings from Walgreens. Tell me you would know these are drugstore earrings if I hadn’t told you:
Look- they’re even lead compliant. That’s almost like 25 k gold, right?
Bargain price? $2.99. I will let you know if my earlobes turn black and fall off from wearing them.
Zoe got to witness her first “late night run for liquor” as two young men came in to purchase Hennessey. That was fun.
After we got back to the hotel I attempted to set a wake-up call. Apparently I didn’t do a great job, because the call was supposed to come in at 8am, and we woke up at 830. I wasn’t too concerned, though. I had checked the game schedule 3 times. Her team gets split into two smaller teams for tournaments. Her team was scheduled for what I thought was 11 and again at 410. The poor other team had to be at the field by 730 and again the next morning at 830.
I was still pretty groggy. I needed caffeine to wake up, and I had been awoken at 2am by the woman in the room next door who thought it was perfectly reasonable to talk at regular decibel levels in the middle of the night. After a few minutes I banged my fist on the wall trying to get her to shut up. It didn’t work, but my hand still hurts. I gave up and turned the fan on to drown her voice out. I went to sleep with ill feelings towards the woman next door.
Zoe got dressed into her grey uniform, which, unfortunately, seems to have permanent pitch stains from sitting on a log at the last tournament.
We ate breakfast at the hotel (side note- just because the breakfast is in a hotel, doesn’t mean it’s ok to wear your plaid fleece bathrobe in public, dude. Pull it together.)
I didn’t get coffee because I knew there was a Starbucks on the way. When we got there, however, there were 10 cars in the drive-thru line. I looked at the clock- 945. She needed to be at the field by 1030, and we were 45 minutes away. I was going to have to sacrifice getting coffee until we were closer and I was sure I could get her there on time. I’m responsible like that. At the next stoplight I looked at the email again, and saw that the game didn’t start at 11, it started at 1130. Bonus! I was actually EARLY! I was going to have time to stop for coffee after all.
I followed my gps directions to the park where the tournament was being played. I never spotted another Starbucks. I asked the guy directing traffic in the parking lot and he said, “I don’t know either I just got here and I could sure use some coffee myself.” This wasn’t a good sign.
I made a U-turn and headed back out to see if I could find coffee. After all, we were early and had plenty of time. I started driving. And driving. And then I drove some more. This is what I saw:
Trees, trees, and more trees.
No sign of civilization anywhere. No Starbucks, no Mcdonalds, nothing.
I looked at my clock. I wasn’t sure I could get her there on time if I didn’t turn around. So I turned around.
By the time she walked onto the field I was twitching from the lack of caffeine, but feeling generally good about the fact that I had gotten her there on time. And then I spotted them. The blue team. And she was in grey. I walked up to the coach, and looked at the girls warming up. They were the other half of her team.
“Um, where is she supposed to be?” I asked.
He looked up at me and said, “Here. 3 hours ago.”
No. It couldn’t be. But it was. I had mixed up the two team’s schedules. My stomach dropped.
Her coach was nice enough to agree to let her play in the game. As the girls warmed up I stood there in shock, still trying to figure out how I had screwed up so badly. One of the balls came flying at me, and I turned to the side to avoid being nailed straight on. The coach said, “Now girls, what mom SHOULD have done there is trap the ball with her chest.” And then he snickered.
I sat down with the parents, who all looked very surprised to see me. I explained the situation. I texted some of the moms who were out getting coffee, but was too late- they had already left. One of the dads looked at my crazed face and said, “Don’t be pissy with me, just because you didn’t have enough time to coffee before a game that you were already 3 hours late for.”
They won the 1130 game 5-0. I heard that in spite of Zoe not being at the 8 am game (which her coach was quick to point out he had to leave his house at 3 am to catch the ferry to get there for) her team had won 2-1.
I did finally get my coffee- at 2.
The afternoon games were less stressful, especially when some of the parents broke out the booze. This was a side of soccer I had never experienced. One of the moms poured wine into my now-empty Starbucks cup.
At one point my phone was down to 3% battery, so I went to my car to charge it. It was warm, so I turned the car on and ran the A/C. I watched some guy pick his nose up to the second knuckle. I read my kindle, and waited for my phone to charge, one tiny percentage point at a time.
I guess at this point I should mention that this island community is known for being very, oh, how shall I say, hippy-ish. Organic. Lots of Subaru Outbacks, if that helps you picture it. This is the sign they had at the tournament on every trash can, so I felt guilty every time I needed to throw something away:
I have nothing against the environment (I like breathing oxygen and drinking clean water as much as the next guy), or even environmentalists- Until they rap on my car window and yell at me for killing the earth.
First, I should point out in my defense that my one year old car I’m POSITIVE SURE is emitting less icky stuff into the environment than his 15 year old Subaru wagon. Second, it was not idling for an HOUR, as he claimed. It was like 15 minutes. I only made to 7%. After he got done ranting and raving at me for my personal destruction of the planet, a woman who had been sitting under a canopy directly behind my car said not only did she not smell any fumes, she didn’t even know my car was on. So there. All I wanted to do was charge my phone so that I had enough battery life now that Candy Crush has finally added new levels. Is that too much to ask???
He came up to me a few minutes later as I was walking back to the field. He asked me if I was the woman he had just yelled at. I said yes. He apologized for the way he talked to me and then, near tears, said, “it’s just- the environment.” The good thing about hippies is that they have higher estrogen levels.
Except the women. Which brings me to the scandal of the afternoon game.
As soon as the game started, this child stood out. At first I thought, well, short unflattering hairstyle, but maybe she’s just a tomboy. And then I saw her close up. It was a man baby! (I said that in my Austin Powers voice, could you hear it?) It wasn’t a man. And we weren’t sure it was boy, either. But it looked like a boy. Her name was “Tyler” which is slowly becoming unisex, but still tends to be mostly a boy name. It kind of reminded me of “Pat” from Saturday Night Live.
One of the parents, an enormously buff dad with a cockney British accent decided to take matters into his own hands. (Eww, not literally) He went and asked. Flat out, he asked. “Is that a boy? Do you have a boy playing on your team?” The answer was, no. It was a girl. I remained unconvinced. And then I saw Tyler’s mom. Apparently the androgynous looks don’t fall far from the tree.
I will also say that watching that team, which was local to the island, shoving, pushing, grabbing and tripping our girls made me realize hippies can get competitive too.
That night after a team dinner, Zoe and I drove back to our hotel. Another family was staying a block away in another hotel, and they invited Zoe to come to their room to swim. As we walked down the street she said, “Your breath smells like ocean.”
“That’s not my breath. That’s the ocean that smells like the ocean.”
She started humming and said in a sing-song-y voice, “We’re walking down the street. We’re street walkers!”
“No. we’re not street walkers.”
“Yes we are!”
“Sweetheart, a street walker is another term for hooker. This is a Navy town. You can’t walk around in a Navy town at night talking about being a street walker.”
That night my “friends” next door must have been tuckered out from their late-night jabber fest. All I heard was the sound of snoring. Really loud snoring. Like he was in bed with me snoring. At first I rolled Zoe over to see if it was her snoring, that’s how loud it was. Nope.
I want to start a movement that hotels have to post wall thickness along with the list of amenities they offer.
The next day we weren’t quiet as we checked out of our room at 730. Karma can be a biotch, man.
We got to the field and one of the team parents was doling out mimosas and bloody marys. A bloody mary at 9am? Sure why not.
Zoe’s team didn’t win their morning game, so they didn’t make it to the championship game. The other part of her team did, though, and she asked me if we could stay and watch.
One of the girls came down with the stomach flu and started puking right before the game. Somehow she managed to pull herself up and play that game. I don’t think I could have done it. It was pretty impressive.
As we left the field and headed towards the ferry, I almost hit a man. He came from out of nowhere. Zoe saw him and shouted at me. Turns out she didn’t know I was going to hit him, she was just squealing because the sight of him was something else.
I decided I wasn’t going to make it an hour in the ferry line before using the bathroom. I stopped off at McDonalds and then before my eyes, this:
I swear this island is weird.
So, there you have it. Not so glamorous, huh? I’m sorry if you were hoping for something more salacious. I’m not a very good soccer mom. I mixed up the schedule, so she missed her first game. I almost accidentally invited her coach to sleep in our hotel room. I drank a stiff bloody mary first thing in the morning. I got yelled at by a hippie.
Eventually I will get the hang of this soccer thing.
We head into league play next week. If I hear or see anything more interesting, I’ll let you know.
Until then, I’ll leave you with this: