We love soccer Saturdays in our house.  After all it gives me the first real opportunity to live vicariously through my children.  If I’m honest, part of me used to harbor a secret fantasy that one of my boys was going to demonstrate prodigious, breathtaking talent as soon as they touched the ball.  That the coach was going to come over to me at the end of the first lesson.  Put his hand on my shoulder, gently usher me away from the other parents so as not to evoke jealousy and discord among a group of lesser gifted children and offer me a few choice words about nurturing my child’s unique talent.  Fast streaming him to a class for older children, where he could be observed more closely and his craft could be honed.  Okay, if I’m really honest, part of me still continues to harbor this fantasy.

Soccer is probably the first organized sport that most kids encounter.  And for most of us as parents, our first brush with organized sports since college.  It also means that soccer is the first time we as parents get a direct, real time, opportunity to compare our child to their peers within an organized setting.  It also brings us face to face with the phenomenon known as the soccer mom, and the soccer dad.  Or rather the shadowy, nascent, nebulous incarnation of their future alter egos.  Yes, much like the adolescent Anakin Skywalker in the ill-fated Attack of the Clones, it is all too easy to see future Sideline Sith Lords in the faces and attitudes of these parent padawans.

evil anakin

My heart sinks.  Not least for what my future holds, an unending stream of Saturdays on the sidelines with these overachieving types, but more horrifically that I might, unwittingly, become one myself.  So seductive is the dark side of the vicarious force.  All are powerless once caught in its tractor beam.  Heck, I might even be one now and not realize it.  In an over elaborate and deliberate effort to distance myself from being tarred with that brush, I remain seated throughout the class, almost indifferent to what transpires on the field.  But now do I just look aloof and callous?  It’s a perilous path to traverse for sure.  Not – as they say – to be traveled lightly.

The lesson ends and none of the coaches approach me.  But maybe that’s a good thing.  Or maybe they’re just waiting ’til next week to tell me…

Super Soccer Stars