To travel or not to travel, that is the question!

I am not typically one to read magazine articles but I just found myself chuckling at an article in the “Philadelphia” magazine.  The article is about a parent struggling with the decision to sign up a child for travel soccer or not.  Oh how I can relate to this parent!

When I was a child my parents were divorced.  I was raised by a single working mother who made it clear that after a hard week at work she would not spend her free time carting us around to sporting events.  If we wanted to participate in anything outside of school it would need to be with a friend whose parent was willing to take us also.  This may sound rough but now as a parent I understand (most of the time).

Many would say that my husband and I over compensate at times.  On top of school, my children both take music lessons, karate and play sports.   I remember a few years ago attempting to arrange for parties on the weekend and having many friends reply with “I am sorry but we have (fill in sport)”.  I would be left feeling a bit annoyed and would swear that our life would not be like that.  I was dead set that we would not have our lives controlled by any sport.

That all changed one night last summer when we received a phone call from Megan’s parks and rec soccer coach explaining that he had made the decision to coach at the travel level and that he was hoping to see Megan try out. I was not thrilled with the idea but she really wanted to do it. Of course we allowed it and the rest is history.  I am now the parent of the starting, (and only) goalkeeper on the team.  The girls practice twice a week and our Saturdays are spent on the fields.  Holiday weekends mean tournament play and for our child extra camps which cost extra money to improve her skills in-goal.

Image 1For some it sounds just awful and I will admit it is not for everyone.  For our family, it seems right.  We enjoy watching our girls play and improve.  We have bonded with many “team” families.  I also believe that the competition that comes with the travels program is very important. We live in a world of trophies for all, everybody plays and no winners or losers.  For the young ones that is fine but there comes a time in life when it is time to learn reality.  Life is filled with ups and downs, wins and losses.  It is up to parents and coaches to teach that winning is not everything but showing up prepared to “play” is a must be it sport, school, work or life in general .  Healthy competition as a child helps to prepare for the push and pull that they will experience through life.

I guess as time has passed I have become a “soccer mom”.  I do refuse to put one of those soccer ball magnets on my car.  We all have to draw the line somewhere :-).

Are you ready for some soccer?

I just got Megan and Frank packed up and off to the first of three soccer games this extremely hot weekend.  Madi and I will miss the first game in order to make it to her guitar lesson.  We will join the other two for game two.  If you were to look at the weather you would think we were in mid-August instead of late spring.  We are in the middle of the first heat wave of the year with today being the fourth day over 90 degrees.  Thankfully Meg has a few hours in between games and will be able to come home and relax in the cool air-conditioned house for a little bit.  I think I definitely see pool time later today!Image

Megan’s soccer season was actually over.  The township has two teams for her age group.  We received an e-mail asking if she would jump to the other team for the weekend to help out.  That request came before I realized it was going to be so hot this weekend :-).  The experience will be good for her to play with different girls.  She and one other girls from her team will both be playing.  They had one practice together the other night.  Fingers are crossed for a fun tournament!

When your children cry

So Madi tried out for the travel soccer team.  She is young so we tried to prepare her that she may not make it. She did great at the try outs fast, alert and on the ball.  There were not too many girl so we fully expected her to make a team.  Technically she was better than many of the girls who were there.

The announcements are made on-line, delayed several times by well over a week making the waiting a real headache.They finally posted Saturday night.  She did not make the team along with 3 other girls.  I had to tell her the news.  She was so upset.  We had tears for a few minutes, we laid on her bed and I held onto her.  There was nothing I could do but hug her tight.  Mommy could not fix this one, for as much as I try sometimes the reality sets in that I am not a super hero. :-(.

Yesterday we were having some friends over for a BBQ.  As I was running around getting things ready she asked for a special request.  Could I read her our “special” book.  We have had a book since they were babies that I love to read to them and they have always loved to hear.  I still read it each year the night before the first day of school.  Of course I could stop what I was doing so Madison and I settled in on the sofa  The title of the book is “Oh My Baby, Little One”.  images

Although I was not sending her off to school for the first time, I guess since we have made this book such an important part of our lives it helped her process.

“But still this love is with you, like the leaves are with the trees,                                               like the sand is with the sandbox, like the kite is with the breeze.”

It was not to long after that our friends arrived and the kids were happily splashing around in a rather cold pool.  The weather was not what we would have hoped for to kick off pool season but for the young it is never to chilly to swim.  The disappointment of the soccer team was gone in its place a young girl with not a care in the world, as it should be!

And all was right with the world!