We are at the age with Frank where activities outside of the school year have become a thing. I’d be perfectly happy to let the kid just enjoy his summer running around outside, playing inside, going to the pool, etc… But Mrs Frank’s Place has other ideas. So soccer camp here we come.
Look man, I never did any of this stuff when I was a kid; no little league baseball, no pee wee football, and certainly no soccer. I forged my parents signature in high-school so I could be a pole vaulter on the track team. That means I am a fish out of water when it comes to dealing with stuff like this. But Mrs Frank’s Place put it on our (mine & Frank’s) schedule so off we go to soccer camp. A British soccer camp, run by British people. That becomes important for two good reasons later on.
There were two sessions for five year olds. He could go early at 9am or play later at 10:45. Later is always better. Except when it isn’t. Only one other five year old at the 10:45 session. They chucked that kid and Frank in with the 10-11yr olds for that day. I sat back, waiting for hilarity to ensue. And if it wasn’t for a meddling 11 yr old girl, who took Frank under her wing and basically chaperoned him the entire session, there would have been some good hi-jinx I think.
Anyone notice my first mistake/lesson. If you didn’t you’re not a soccer mom. I stayed for the session and watched. And I was the lone adult aside from the six coaches. 60+ kids and they were all dropped off. There may have been a parent or two in the parking lot. Hard to tell. But I started to feel a little helicopterish and thought I must not have enough to do in my day if I have an hour and a half to stand here watching the kid run around. I rectified that the next four days by bringing the running stroller and taking Anne Marie for a quick two mile hike around the “futbol” complex.
My second mistake of course was signing up for the late session. No way he can go the whole week playing with 10-11 year old kids. So the coach, Kate, comes up to me after the first day and says the following: “thith’r’ll be moo five er c’rky kids a te 9 o’clock sess. Best ring im then aye.” And that was a generous translation of what I heard. Of course I just stared at her, then said, “Sorry I got nothing.” She laughed and tried it again. I finally got it and we switched to the 9am session.
My second lesson – If the coach is from an english speaking country and you still can’t understand her, your kid is going to learn a lot about futbol, or soccer for you die hard Americans. And learn he did. He went from running around in the giant kid amoeba chasing the ball in AYSO soccer on Saturdays to actually understanding the game. It would take ten years of AYSO to match what Kate taught him in four days. He also learned how to put me on my ass. Literally.
The last day of camp we were a bit early and I was kicking the ball around in the wet grass with Frank. The friggen grass was always wet. Anyway, all of a sudden my son, who never kicked the ball once in AYSO soccer eight months prior, squats in some kind of futbol ready pose and dares me to try and stop him as he tries to get by me with the ball. Challenge accepted.
He went right, I took one step left. He quick like went back to his left and had the angle on me. I went hard two steps to my right. My last step was the last time I was upright. Both legs now in the air, above my head, I began to feel like this might end badly. It did. I managed to turn to my side and take the brunt of it with my shoulder and not land flat on my back. But I was soaked and muddy. It must have looked really bad because I was quickly aware of several parents standing over me saying things like, “Oh my god are you ok?!”
I also became keenly aware of a familiar sound. Laughter. It was coming from two places and both were related to me. Yes, it seems daddy flying upside down into the mud was the source of great joy for Frank and Anne Marie. Not a sole laughing out of 60 kids and 30 some odd parents except for the two who emanated from my loins. Yep it ended badly.
In my defense the damn grass was always wet. Also, and my neighbors can attest to this, the old spike-less golf shoes I knock around in have the treads of a slimy piece of baloney. Photo evidence to the left of the field conditions that led to my demise. Notice the only place where there is no grass on the entire complex of like 11inty billion acres of grass is where I went down like an oddly shaped sack of taters.
Anyway I picked myself up, refocused my eyes, which took longer than I had hoped, took AM by the hand and walked back to the van. As we get closer to the van I noticed the damn auto key thing-a-ma-jig ain’t working. I’m now right in front of the van, pointing the key fob right at the windshield and furiously pushing buttons and dog cussin and nothing is happeneing. It is then I notice a women staring back at me from the driver seat. “Well what the hell is she doing in my va…..” Oh….. Yeah, wrong van. Well they all look alike man.
Ok then. The only plus side of all this; it’s the last day of camp. There’s a good chance I won’t be seeing most of these people again. My vision was so blurred from the massive headache coming on I couldn’t see any of those people anyway.
Ah well, small price to pay so the little tyke could learn some futbol from people who can’t speak `Murican english and still refer to us as the Colonies.