It has been a mercifully long time since I was made aware of just HOW heinous sports gear is. Several years ago I went on a goggles strike. I’d my boys can remember to bring, put on, adjust the strap size, de fog, and remove goggles with screaming bloody murder or futilely demanding my help they can wear them. If not. Then not. It has mostly been a goggle free two years.

This morning is soccer in shelburbia. Things are looking good. First of all our kids have games at the same time. Although several friends have offered sympathy about the fact that I won’t be able to watch both games that is not actually my attitude. I don’t watch either game. I park myself in game proximity and turn and chat with whichever other parents, or siblings, or puppies also are happy to be uninvolved spectators.
Then I learned that their games are at 10. Good times.
So at 6:20, when Oliver’s school alarm woke three of us we were afforded PLENTY of time to get ready for soccer.
After a quick run to pick up soccer snacks for the newly sized team of 16, $90 later (I bought three new shopping bags bringing my grand total to more than I will even need + 3) I returned home to see three happy boys on iPads.
The extra kid had a good attitude and a soccer uniform.
My boys? One had a good attitude, the other had a uniform.
Turns out that was just for show. Every element of the uniform needed adjustment. Wrong shorts (too short? Who knows) wrong socks. (Too long? Who knows) wrong under layer shirt (wrong color? Can’t even be seen). All if this is adjusted with muttering, sputtering and banging. He is about to blow.
There it is. The SHIN GUARDS.
These don’t feel right. A reasonable sentence, except when it is howled. He is clawing at his calf, twisting his body in agony.
Steve goes first.
What if I pull this over here.
No no no it hurts. Dada is hurting me. Dada is making it worse.
But imagine that for 20 minutes.
So it’s my turn. Soccer socks are on but one is NOT RIGHT.  He removes it, turns it inside out and starts again. Do I tell him?
Babe, I think that’s inside out.
No response. Huff puff tug twist.
Sock is on.
I stand as if we are departing.
What’s this? He is pointing at the little seam worm that shows when socks are inside out.
Mama! What did you do?
He falls to the floor in misery. How can all of this be happening to him?
Meanwhile our 4 hours of prep time afforded by the freaking alarm has evaporated. 2/3 boys are sitting outside ready to go.
I’ll see you in the van, I tell the squirming mass.
Five minutes later he emerges. Limping from the pain of his cleats.
We arrive at the fields. I send him away and stay at the other game with my shelburbia worthy local snack. I set it up and feel a bit of pleasure at its fancy woodenness.
Then I realize.
I am on the wrong sideline.
I fall to the ground writhing in upset. Why? Why? Why did this happen to me? Why did they change the sides of the field?
Not really.
But I know where he gets it.

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Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

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