Home made soccer bench

Soccer…I hardly know her

pie apples for soccer snack
These are pie apples…my soccer snack apples were even better.
Home made soccer bench
Home made soccer bench

Oliver came across this old post in the note app on my iPhone about soccer in Shelburne. I wrote it on the sideline of the soccer field in the fall of 2013. When we lived in Vermont and my kids did things in groups.  That might be called team sports.


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 swim goggles strike. If my boys could remember to bring, put on, adjust the strap size, de fog, and remove goggles without screaming bloody murder or futilely demanding my help they can wear them. If not. Then not. It has mostly been a goggle free few 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 actually watch either game. I park myself in game proximity and turn and chat with whichever other parents,  siblings, or puppies are also happy to be uninvolved spectators. Mostly it is the puppies.

A second stroke of scheduling luck was the time of their mutual games. A reasonable 10am. Late enough to put together the snack I had procrastinated, and early enough to walk to the farmer’s market for lunch afterwards. A lovely Shelburban morning. When Oliver’s school alarm went off at 6:20 and woke three of us we were afforded PLENTY of time to get ready for soccer.

After a quick wallet emptying run to the market to buy organic apples from the local orchard, the best cheddar in the world from the non profit farm, and Vermont Smoke and Cure pepperoni  I returned home to see three happy boys on iPads. The extra neighborhood 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. The muttering becomes louder. 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. He hits the floor, legs too injured by the offensive shin guards to hold him any longer.

Since Steve slept through the alarm and missed the food shopping he gets to go first.

“What if I pull this over here.” Steve asks giving the shin guard a slight adjustment.

No, no, no, it hurts. Dada is hurting me. Dada is making it worse. Dada is HUUUURRRRTTTIIINNNG me.

Now imagine that for 20 minutes.

Steve leaves the mudroom in defeat and tags me in. Soccer socks are on but one is NOT RIGHT.  The kid removes it, turns it inside out and starts again. Do I tell him? This could go either way. I figure I have already opted in so I give it a try.

“Babe, I think that’s inside out.”

No response. Huff. Puff. Tug. Twist.

The Sock Is On.

I stand as if we are departing. Ha!

“What’s this?” He is pointing at the little seam worm that shows when socks are inside out. “Mama! What did you do?” “Maaaammmmaaaa”

He falls to the floor in misery, the sock offering as much torment as the shin guard before us. 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. His face is red but his eyes are dry.

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 as I fan out apples and cheese and smoked meat on three different artisan bread boards. I pull out a vintage dual pump thermos…one with kids cider, the other with not-so-kids cider. I am pleased to have made it to the fields and I am ready to receive the accolades of the other moms as they enjoy the snack. I look up from my camp blanket to the faces of the other team’s parents.

Then I realize.

I have set up 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?” “I’ll never be able to get all of this stuff over there.” “It hurts!”

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, Parent.co, 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 annarosenblumpalmer.com.

8 thoughts on “Soccer…I hardly know her”

  1. I’m so glad this hilarious golden nugget was retrieved from the archives! I still jerk and twitch at the memory of those godawful 5-hour swim meets I used to have to attend and feign interest in all those summers ago. Kiiiiddddsss, why do you force us to pretend we care about these things? 😉

  2. I didn’t do too much of this because I was a terrible mother who avoided stuff like that. Couldn’t bear the mummy culture and any place where they gathered in groups – I tended to avoid it. Yep – bad mummy! Your last comment made me smile – isn’t it great when we see the worst of our behaviour reflected back at us from our kids. Studying our kids neurotic behaviour for a clue about our own is much cheaper than therapy and brings self-awareness much faster! 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing your story with us at the Over the Moon Link Party. It makes me glad that my son didn’t pick up a sport until football in high school and then had to prepare for it in the school locker room. 😉

  4. This made me laugh! I remember those soccer days so clearly now. I had forgotten the pain before the game! Thank goodness my kids switched to cross country running and basketball- less equipment concerns, less time to watch and one was climate controlled! You have so much to look forward to!

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