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Sports Spectaculars And Motherhood, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:10am

It’s World Cup time. South Africa tied Mexico yesterday – no small feat. Meanwhile, the NBA Championship just finished Game 4 of 7. Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Boston Celtics. Two storied teams from large cities on opposite sides of the country.

And all this just reminds me of my son. Equivalently, I cannot hear the word ballet, or even see a tall, flexible young woman teach yoga, without thinking of my daughter.

I’m not sad. Although I miss my children, it’s not a constant feeling. But once kids get all up in your rib cage, or you bring them home from weeks spent with a birth mother, waiting, you’re kind of done for.

Not everybody needs to have kids. Not everyone ought to have kids. But if you do, and one of them is a soccer player, and you possess, therefore, 11 photos of little boys lined up in uniforms of various colors, uncountable gold male figures in various soccer poses, and a memory of a little guy, lying in bed, working out the World Cup bracket in his head, well, you just aren’t going to cheer unfettered ever again.

And you might have to walk down the hall and see if said World Cup bracket is still in existence, and you might find the old, torn newspaper clipping hanging on a wall behind a photo collage, and you might then have a moment. The kids become a layer of significance under almost everything.

Which is fine, really. Go South Africa. Go Bafana Bafana. Go USA. Go Lakers.

27 Responses

  1. Gasp! Go Lakers?!? No, no, no! It's Go Celtics!

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  2. I'm already so damned sentimental and my little soccer player is only nine years old. I'll be a mess in another ten years.

    "…all up in your ribcage…" That's brilliant and palpable. Add a southern accent and it really takes off. May I use it?

  3. the world cup reminds me of my father, who passed away 5 years ago… It's go Argentina for me, and then go Serbia ( my DH) and forza azzurri ( my 2nd nationality and that of my kids) After them we cheer for Ivory Coast-the country where we met! How's your som experiencing the WC in Argentina?

  4. It took me an embarrassingly long time as a soccer mom on the sidelines to figure out why "offside" was penalized — just seemed like a good strategy to me. And I found the game unbearably paced — too much tension, too little release — and was one of the few parents who was happy leaving a game at a tie rather than wishing we'd go into overtime so we could show who was really best.
    That said, I absolutely agree with you that any interest I'll bring to the World Cup will be filtered through a lens that saw my daughter playing mid-field for a Metro League team, my son in the same position a few years later.
    Your son will be in the thick of intense soccer fandom right now — perhaps enough to generate a chatty phone call!

  5. This post made me smile. Love when those boys grow up on the outside, but in our eyes, still 8 years old and reenacting plays in the yard.


  6. my mother cheered for me and my sisters with such gusto that i think every southern california soccer parent heard her voice at some point in the '80s or '90s. it's possible that she came to cheer for me a few times when i was a referee, even.

    now middle sis is in south africa for the games; mom will be watching them all anyway, but i imagine she'll be watching the crowd shots especially closely, cheering for emily a bit as well.

    {my bracket}

  7. I can feel that pang up in the ribcage….and in my throat!
    You describe mothering and motherhood so eloquently…it rings true.

  8. Beautifully said – but I'm afraid I'm going to have to get all patriotic on you and say 'Go England!'

  9. What a lovely post, so well put, I love the line about "kids become the layer of significance under almost everything" – wonderful and rings so true.Bx

  10. Kate – I have to stay loyal to California:).

    ADG – But of course! And I want to see what it looks like in a southern accent.

    Marcela – A toast to your father. And my son is off traveling to Uruguay today, so I don't know and am dying to hear if he was around BA still for the Argentina game today.

    Mater – I paid so little attention to the games, in a way. I just kept my eyes on my son at all times. Also a midfielder, BTW:).

    Anon – And then you watch the videos of them as toddlers and almost swoon. Right?

  11. lauren – my son forbid me to from cheering. really. I love your bracket.

    hostess – thank you. It's always so close to the surface for us moms, don't you think?

    That's Not My Age – Patriotism is a good thing sometimes:).

    Tabitha – Thank you so much.

    Blighty – Thank you. Hope your match-watching was fun.

  12. I grew up in a basketball family. In a basketball state. My father and grandfather were both basketball coaches. I'm obsessed with college basketball (I even write a column for a local magazine), but am oddly ambivalent about the NBA. Odd, really…

  13. Oh I am in the thick of it with 2 little soccer mad lads – one 12 and one almost 8. They are all out at a make up match as I type…. a few deliciously peaceful moments to myself. They live and breathe the sport, along with their Dad who has had 7 knee reconstructions due to the game and still plays for the A's in his old lads team. So here we will sit for the next few weeks… living the game… I do learn so much though…. and the cheers and commentary warms my heart. Thank you for really reminding me to enjoy the moment. A-M xx

  14. Yes. Yes about all up in the ribcage. And yes about checking to see if the trophies are still there. And yes about the photos in different colored uniforms. And yes, welling but not yet falling, tears.

  15. this was a lightbulb moment post; now I get why my mom always sends me articles from the paper on rowing, even though I know that she knows that I read about it online :) you are sweet LPC!



  16. Oh LPC how right you are – they do, so much "get up your ribcage" – this sums it all up so well… Really hope this World Cup won't get you down too much…x

  17. Mothers! Mine was supposed to visit for 5 days. She canceled…her dog is ill. Hopefully she will visit in a week or two. I miss her terribly.

  18. "All up in your ribcage" is an amazing description, it absolutely stopped me dead. As it should. The message in this is so wonderful Miss LPC, there is nothing I can add to the simple beauty and wisdom.

    Thanks for making the day so much better,

  19. When my twin sons were five to six, they played soccer. One day the more teddy-bearish boy said he did not enjoy soccer. When asked why not, he said, "Parce que tu fais 'puffpufffpuff'". He went on to cycling, leaving soccer to his nimble brother.

    Every day a kid does at least one thing that makes it all worthwhile.

  20. I feel exactly the same way every time I watch a big basketball game, because of my giant little boy…
    Go Celtics!!

  21. My 16 year-old son had his last hit of his last baseball game today. And it was a double. Next year he'll be too old to play in the league and his school doesn't have a team, so it's all over. He ended it well, but it's very bittersweet. Sigh.

  22. Yay! Loving the world cup in SA: it is monumental to be here now.

    An aside: "Bafana Bafana" means The Boys (x2). Perhaps your cheer for bafana is somewhat even more appropriate given this post seems to be an ode to your boy?

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