This year for the first time I have become a soccer mum. The irony of the whole situation is not lost on me. I love to let people know I’m a soccer mum, then try not to smirk. I’m childish like that.
Soccer has been on for almost two months now. I have spent my share of wintery weekends on the sides of fields, as well as waiting for training to finish in the dark. Having just returned from another game, where the home team’s club rooms were shut (not even a sausage was on the sizzle) I have decided to pen a beginners guide to being a soccer mum.
Being a soccer mum is not all laté and laughter you know. For a start, some clubs don’t even have their own barista. Or soy milk and free range, hand picked organic coffee beans ground on site. As for laughing, best not to, lest the cold air gets into your lungs and you die of consumption on the sidelines. It has been known to happen.
Soccer mum duties are cold. Bitterly so. More bitter than a badly made coffee from an unofficial soccer match barista, who offers you white sugar and uses the bad soy milk. Due to this bitter cold, you will need to rug up. Layer. Layer well soccer mum, your life will depend on it. When you think you are layered enough, add a coat, two scarves, a warm hat at a jaunty angle and gloves. Try to squeeze your sunglasses on your head as well; a little optimism that the sun may shine never hurt anyone. Besides, when you start to get that I’ve-had-no-coffee twitch in your left eye, large framed sunnies are a godsend.
Gumboots are no longer just for kids and music festivals. Mums, you will need a pair. Soccer matches are wet. Odds on it will rain while your child is out on the field. Those lovely brown leather boots may really pull your layered soccer mum outfit together, but they won’t keep your feet dry.
TAKE AN UMBRELLA.
When the game is on, stand on the sidelines with your team’s coach and other parents. Yell encouragement to your child and their teammates. Stick to the basics, like RUN! KICK! STAY WITH YOUR PLAYER! GET ON NUMBER 11! If you’re feeling devil-may-care, yell OFFSIDE! But beware the offside yell, if you sound convincing other soccer mums and dads may come and ask you what the offside rule means. Then you’re in trouble.
Never leave home without your phone. It will help you find grounds with its GPS, tell you the god forsaken temperature and allow you to quickly google the offside rule while you duck off to the loo.
At the end of the match, be ready with words of encouragement. Great game, good running, excellent defence all work well. Unless of course your child was playing forward. Then try, great game, good running, great er, forwarding … Loosing a game is not the end of the world, remember your child’s team has excellent teamwork, great communication and ball skills. The opposing team just had one big player who could boot the ball from one end of the field to the other. He/she did all the work, so really if the game was about teamwork not goals, we would have SO won this week.
The end of the game huddle is important. It builds morale, helps kids debrief about that one big player that did all the kicking, and gives off warmth from all the body heat.
At the end of the huddle, gather your child and their strewn belongings and make a hasty retreat to the car; which you have been sure to park as close as possible to the ground. As your child removes their boots and puts on their car only uggs, turn the car on and crank the heater. While you wait for your child to load their gear, search your phone for the nearest café and load it into the GPS. Remember to remove at least two of your layers before you drive away or you may melt.
On your eventual arrival home, drag your child into the shower. Empty the soccer gear into the washing machine, turn the ducted heating up to 21c and pour a wine. You deserve it.
Naomi Pritchard-Tiller is a writer, teacher and mother who can often be found blogging about the musings of her everyday life on Under the Yardarm in between fine cups of tea.