Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Put On The Frickin' Socks And Let's Play Ball

Enough about the frickin' socks already.

During the first practice, she didn't have any over her shin guards, because we didn't have any socks big enough to pull over them. And I hadn't even thought about that, yet. I had noticed that she wasn't the only girl on the team without socks, but most of the other 12 players had socks pulled up over their shin guards.

After posting one of her pictures featuring her sockless shin guards for my loving and supportive friends on Facebook -- the chiding comments rolled right off their fingertips.

Where are her socks? She needs socks!

Do you even know how to play soccer?

Where are her hair ribbons? Don't forget the hair ribbons!


Of course they were just giving me a bad time, as my friends of old have always done, but the sock saga was far from over. I told the Mama that Beatrice needed socks, which was met with a simple yet loving denial:

"No she doesn't. She'll be fine. Who else had socks? She doesn't need socks."


Two months earlier, while both Bea and Bryce were in a weekly soccer clinic, Bea decided she wanted to keep playing soccer with her friends. At first she really wanted to play on a boys' team, like the Amanda Whurlizer tomboy she is, but then accepted the fact it would be an all girls' team and was just as excited when she learned of other friends playing U8 soccer.

That's when the Mama reminded me that the Santa Cruz City Youth Soccer Club (SCCYSC) needed coaches and other volunteers for this year's fall season. At first I thought I'd just volunteer and be an assistant coach. Yes, that might be fun. I hadn't played soccer since junior high school, but it should still be fun.

So I signed up, being specifically clear that I wanted to be an assistant coach because I hadn't played for, well, decades.

Coaches' night came quick and it was time to go get the team information and some of the equipment. I opened up our team packet and the hallowed designation shone brightly bringing tears, like looking into the sun no matter how many times you were told not to.

Head Coach: Kevin

Holy moly. My eyes burned. Now what? Orientation flew by that night and all I could hear was the sound of my own voice:

What are you doing?

You know what? I'm gonna be a coach. Yep, that's what. Why not go for it? I mean, even years before having the girls I wanted to coach at some point. And when we decided to have kids, I vowed that boys or girls, I'd be involved in whatever sport they wanted to play, if any.

I have such fond memories of playing sports as a child and throughout junior high and high school with many a great coach in my past. Coaches who wanted me to learn new skills and to safe play and teamwork and leadership and to aspire to greatness, no matter my level of play.

And yes, unfortunately as I got older and the play more competitive, coaches who wanted the team to win, win, win, so there's that, but I'm good with that. But when I played (American) football, my sport of choice back in the day, we had a banner hanging in the coaches' office with a phrase familiar to many a player over the years:

T.E.A.M. Together Everyone Achieves More.


During our first T.E.A.M. meeting, our players voted on a team name and the big winner is: The Flying Hamsters. Right on, Sisters. And two other dads stepped up to be assistant coaches and help me make a difference in these players' lives. Appropriately our sponsor is the global organization Kidpower, empowering kids, teens and adults one safety and confidence skill at a time.

We look forward to practicing soccer fundamentals and teamwork and having fun, fun, fun no matter what level their girls are at. That's why everyone will always get a chance to play every game and rotate positions throughout the season. A big plus is that we have really involved parents that feel the same way. Even if we have a few Buttermaker moments, we'll push on positively.

T.E.A.M. Together Everyone Achieves More.

Even though we're not "keeping score," we just played our first game -- and we won! Yes, this is non-competitive play, but we won! Yes, we're teaching the team soccer skills and teamwork and leadership skills, but we won!

By the way, did I tell you that we won? Well done team! What a great first game. Wow, what a powerhouse team we have.

#GirlPower and #BhivePower indeed.

The sock epilogue: When we got our uniforms we were thrilled, but then the purple socks seemed really big, and some of the parents including the Mama pointed that out to me. That maybe they were too big and we should ask the league to exchange them. And so I did that, but that it would be a no-go on exchanging the socks, that we had to make do. 

Because they're supposed to be big to cover the shin guards. Sigh. 

Put on the frickin' socks and let's play ball, girls. Or whatever you say in soccer. 

No hair ribbons needed. 


  1. Well, I'm not sure where this fits, but I am proud of you for taking it on. I too jumped into the soccer coach pool years back. Teaching preparedness, fundamentals, teamwork, and most of all, love for the game. Winning was not our strength. The league also followed the "no points" theory, but that didn't stop most parent coaches from losing their minds when goals were scored (or not). It also didn't keep most coaches from keeping more advanced players (often their kids) from continuing to pile on the goals.
    Over the years, the wisdom I tried to impart was control of the game. Scoring was important. After all, games are played to be won. But control; self control, temper control, ball control, etc., thats what makes great players. And great people.
    Thanks for sharing your journey, and keep those socks pulled up!

  2. Charles, thank you for your comment! You are right on the money with "control" -- and I do hope I help them get there.