Our day started earlier than I would have liked. Packing up clothes, gear, snacks and then jousting little people’s from their beds all in the name of the almighty ball.
It started way back in Texas when the oldest was able to join a t-ball team. One of our friends and neighbors in military housing had volunteered to herd the wet cats, I mean kids, and take on the coach hat.
That season saw the introduction to all the basic fundaments of baseball. There was complete and utter chaos on that field at any given time... don’t even get me started on the drama in the dugout.
There were crying kids, frustrated parents, spilt snacks, lost equipment and on any given evening... wine coolers hidden in someone’s cooler.
Nothing was as cute as those “Cubs” running around in their tiny little uniforms with huge baseball caps trying to chase each other and fight over the ball.
I didn’t know back then but that first launch into the world of ball sports would see us continue through to adulthood.
The oldest was more interested in being part of a team and the camaraderie that comes with that than learning the finer points of a sport.
She worked just hard enough to be decent at it, then turned her attention to something else. She didn’t love any of the sports enough to sacrifice for a ball or a score. I think that was the tell-tale sign for me.
She would play soccer next in the rolling subdivisions of Utah. Soccer was a complete and utter mystery to me. The better half of my marriage had more understanding of the sport but quit trying to explain it to me.
That came in handy when on the second practice of the season, our coach quit because our team had more girls than any other team. He literally threw his roster down and took his ball home. Loser.
Several parents would kick in to help us, but those kids literally learned nothing productive about soccer or strategy or winning that season.
They learned to sing silly chants, run laps around the field, eat a lot of ice cream and to sing “we are the champions” after every game (because they didn’t keep score so who was there to tell us we lost).
The oldest would move on to volleyball and basketball and finally softball.
We saw how these sports helped our oldest connect with others around her. So we were happy to introduce the soccer. We had no idea how badly of an idea that would become.
The young one was focused and intense. As a baby, we used to joke that she was the Wyatt Earp of all kids. Silent and grumpy looking... so we actually thought soccer could be a good way to get her involved in team sports. Boy were we wrong.
That focus and determination would see her run each and every game like a Gladiator performing for the people. She was ruthless. She pushed, she tripped, and she wielded her elbow like a hammer... at mere five years old and the quiet one was the Elizabeth Lambert of our small community.
We quickly decided to bench her. Sadly the coach understood the advantage of pushing through and letting her go to town and would happily send her in for a little mayhem then bring her out to have some snacks.
The pictures we have from this time in her life are epically awesome. Sitting on the sideline, I have picture after picture of her rushing the field, other players and the ball. I have pictures of her tantrums from the sidelines when she wasn’t put in.
I have pictures of her sleeping on the sidelines after said tantrum but my favorite is one where the better half is bent over to her level, trying to talk some goodness and Jesus into her heart, his face so intensive and lovingly earnest. Her entire body is petulant.
Her twin ponytails flying in unison as she shook her head in disagreement. Hands on her hips, lips pursed, foot digging into the ground as the admittedly opposed.
That would be one and only soccer season.
Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative, Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Dividing her time between Grand Lake and Colorado, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.