by — Toby - a.k.a. the dad who hates soccer!
I remember a few years ago that every year during college graduation season, some prestigious university would feature a commencement speaker who would base their entire address on the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh The Places You’ll Go.” Basically, the book discusses life’s journey and it’s obstacles while imploring the main character to explore, keep moving and asking questions (which is a good thing…you know…to tell a college graduate. Go out and travel and explore and question things like the need for a job.) Anyway, the book is extremely popular because kids really can relate to it…college kids, high school kids, even grade school kids.
So, I am thinking that I should write a book, except, instead of writing it with lessons and stories aimed at young people, my book would be aimed at first-time parents to be. I settled on the title “Oh, The Things You Will Do for Your Kids” because I am pretty sure that my original title “Children: The Tax Breaks Do NOT Make up for Their Overall Expense” might negatively impact sales and would be shunned by the Newbery judges.
Now, first off, let me say this: Like all of the parents I know, every one of them, I love my children more than anything in this world…and that’s my point. I love my kids so much that I literally find myself doing things every day solely for my children, like trying to be healthier, opening 529 accounts, and no longer drinking during the day (honestly, are there many things in life better than a good day drinking session? I think this might be part of our upcoming TV seminar.)
While it has only been eight years, as I look back and think about all of the things I have done solely for my children (Yes, I did just write all the things that I have done because my wife has done about 10,000 times more things solely for our children than I have) one of the things that jumps out as being a true sign of my love and devotion to them is my embracing of, and active participation in soccer.
Yes, I admit it…I really don’t like soccer that much. I know that is almost a sacrilegious thing to say if you have children and live in Northern Virginia, but it is true. The thing is, my kids like soccer. They like to play soccer. They play or have played outdoor soccer, indoor soccer, fall soccer, spring soccer, house soccer, travel soccer, and travel academy. For the most part I have gotten on board. I watch all of their games. I sometimes even watch games that our friend’s children play in. I bought FIFA ’13 for my…I mean son’s PlayStation. Look, I even coach my son’s U7 house team (which may be one of the reasons why lately I have been longing for day time drinking.) My kids play soccer and I watch all of their games. Heck, I even coach one of their teams. I know a lot more about soccer than I ever did before, but the fact remains that I am still not that crazy about soccer!
Why is that? Is there something wrong with me? Am I like Herbie the Elf up at the North Pole? Will Governor McAuliffe force me to move once he takes office? (I bet that Libertarian guy who just ran didn’t really like soccer either, which is probably why he was only polling at around 8%.)
I was pondering this the other day when it occurred to me that when I was growing up we didn’t play soccer…at all! I don’t know why, but we didn’t. We played baseball, football, tennis, and lots of street hockey. Of course, growing up in Bronxville, I also played such youth character-building sports as Squash and Paddle Tennis, but that’s another story. The point is that I never played soccer as a kid, and to the best of my knowledge, none of my friends really did either before high school.
Before I had children my exposure to soccer was basically 2 things: 1) I liked the Cosmos growing up, and I was all in on the professional indoor soccer phase in the mid-80′s. 2) When we first got HBO, Victory was on every single night (I am NOT joking, it was on every night. I mean it was a good movie, but you are a team of POWs playing Nazi prison guards in soccer and you are losing 4-0 at halftime when you learn you have a chance to escape forever…and you GO BACK TO PLAY THE SECOND HALF????? Really?) I mean, come on HBO, would it have killed you to put on ZAPPED! or Hot Dog before 11 pm just once?
And yet, as we wind down the Fall 2013 season of being on the pitch (it’s a field, just say it. The FIELD) like many of you I will miss our weekend soccer games a little bit. There will be other things to do and other events to go to…and some kind of soccer will be starting up soon enough, but the fact is that my kids love playing soccer, and that is really all that matters, because parents do things that our kids like, that’s part of our job. Maybe one of the reasons I still don’t like soccer all that much is because the number after the “U” keeps going up every season, and that makes me a little sad. Till next season...
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