I woke up at 7am to the sound of rain pounding against my window and grunted softly as I rolled out of bed.
As I shuffled slowly towards my bedroom door, I contemplated the consequences that would result if I allowed my oldest daughter to skip her early-morning soccer game.
Did I really want to wake all 3 of my peacefully-sleeping children to drudge through this torrential downpour and stand shivering on the sidelines with my 2 youngest whining in my ear?
After a quick mental tally of the pros and cons of my actions, I decided that it was my responsibility to set a good example for my children. I was the parent after all.
We battled through the usual morning routine – the nagging pleas to finish their breakfasts, the ceaseless requests to get dressed quickly, and the repetitive reminders to put on their shoes and coats. I took a swig of my tepid coffee and we piled into the car – just in time.
As I drove towards the soccer field, the rain fell harder. Clicking the windshield wipers up a notch to counteract the water coverage, I toyed with the idea of turning around and calling it quits.
When we arrived, the parking lot was full. I pulled into a spot that was located as far away as possible from our designated field, unloaded my stroller, umbrella and 3 drowsy kids, and power walked to the team’s meeting spot.
As I rushed my hesitant daughter onto the field, I shouted promises of hot chocolate and treats, and urged her to play her best.
And then I stood there. In the pouring rain. For an hour and a half.
Huddled under a small umbrella that I shared with my shivering son and restless toddler, there was nothing I could do but grin and bear it.
I watched as my big girl ran around on the field. No hood, no umbrella, and no gloves. She was SOAKED and she didn’t give up. I didn’t dare complain about my frozen fingers, or numb toes, or dripping wet hair. Because I was just a spectator. I was the parent.
It took everything I had to mask my excitement when the whistle blew 3 times indicating the end of the game. As we raced to the car, my daughter burst into tears. And then my son. They were frozen, frigid, and famished.
As we drove home I quietly wondered to myself: why do we do this? My kids like soccer but they certainly aren’t passionate about it. They’re not training to be professional athletes, and they certainly aren’t star players. They wouldn’t beg to go if I offered to skip a game, and they wouldn’t miss it if I allowed them to quit.
And then I remembered why I wanted them to play soccer in the first place. I wanted them to connect with a new group of friends. To get more exercise and to learn to work as part of a team. I wanted them to forge bonds, to try something new, and to learn about commitment. I wanted them to experience the victory of winning, and the feeling of defeat. Because those life skills, regardless of where they end up in the future, will make them better people.
What keeps you going as a soccer parent?