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The Thing That Put This Soccer Mom In Her Place

I’ve been reveling in some bragging rights about my daughter Bridget’s prowess as a soccer goalie.

She made the All-Star team this year and I heard people whispering she was the best goalie in the 10-and-under age group. (I know because I secretly tape recorded them and play it on a loop in my car).

Then, on Saturday, the tournament began.

Bridget’s team won their first game handily with a score of 2-0, my only complaint being that Bridget never got any action the whole game. She just stood in the goal box practicing her hip hop popping and locking moves.

I wanted her to get some action so her All-Star coaches could see just what a natural she is. That the rumors of her greatness were, in fact, true and that her genetic predisposition for athletic agility must certainly have traversed the DNA chain down from her mother. The one who paces the sidelines yelling, “By Grabthar’s Hammer, never give up! Never surrender!”

Soon the second game began. Both teams were evenly matched and Bridget had to stop dancing and pay attention. The first few balls that came her way were easy pickins and I was a little annoyed that her punt kicks weren’t as impressive as they usually are.

“Come on, sweetie, show ’em what you’ve got!”

She started to be more aggressive, mixing it up with the attackers, grabbing a few balls that should’ve gotten by her. Parents started shifting toward me, telling me how good Bridget was. I nodded stoically, as if these compliments weren’t, somehow, inflating my sad little soccer mom ego.

Then it happened. One of the attackers on the opposing team broke free with nothing but the ball and a green field between her and Bridget. She had red hair (a sign of Irish brutishness), was thickly built, a powerful forward. I could see Bridget’s indecision. Should she stay back and hope one of her defenders might catch the attacker, or should she go on the offensive?

She deliberated briefly and then lunged out of the box running as fast as she could toward the ball that was a little bit ahead of the attacker. As Bridget dove for the ball the attacker caught up and kicked it hard straight into Bridget’s chest. I could hear it hit her from across the field. Saw it bounce away and the next attacker meet and kick it into the goal.

Bridget was down. The referee stood over her then waved for the coach. He kneeled down to talk to her. I could hear her crying, see her rubbing her eyes. I was already planning the ice pack I’d put on her as she ate chocolate truffles and watched as much TV as she wanted after she staggered off the field and I drove her home.

But then she did it. She stood up. She waved the coach away and walked back to the goal box to finish the game. No more balls got by her that day and her team tied at 1-1, but that really didn’t matter. I was simply humbled, and proud, that Bridget got up and finished the job.

Some days I wish I could be more like my kids. Guess I’m bragging again.

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9 comments

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  1. Rosie Carrillo
    Rosie Carrillo 30 January, 2014, 10:54

    Bridget is a Champ! Athletic abilities are a gift, Character a blessing!

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  2. Serena Belva
    Serena Belva 30 January, 2014, 11:23

    I was a goalie ONCE in high school. I usually played forward right striker. It was terrifying. Never again.

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  3. Kacey @ Shes.No.Martha
    Kacey @ Shes.No.Martha 31 January, 2014, 03:59

    As a former goalie, I was slightly emotional reading this. 🙂 But with such great offense, I perfected my cartwheels and pop-locks. I’ve passed my goalie skills on to my 9 yo daughter – she LOVES that position. Get ready for stoved fingers!!

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    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 31 January, 2014, 10:49

      Kacey — stoved fingers?? Now I’m curious. I am hoping my daughter will stick with the position. I think it’s hard on her emotionally because she takes each goal scored personally. She doesn’t want to let the team down. I tell her she needs to start counting every goal she saves.

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  4. Claudia Schmidt
    Claudia Schmidt 31 January, 2014, 11:56

    So sweet. My daughter is a Tae Kwon Do black belt and there have been times when she’s been kicked in the head HARD with another sparring partners foot and just kept going. I’m always kind of amazed by her prowess — it’s great when any child but especially a girl has that kind of grit and determination. Good for Bridget! And PS, love the whole hip hop popping and locking imagery 🙂

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  5. KymberlyFunFit
    KymberlyFunFit 31 January, 2014, 15:34

    Repeat after me: when Bridget does well it’s genetics! If she misses a ball, it’s environment. I got this down after 20 years as a soccer coach and parent. Oh, and by the time Bridget makes all stars U14, all the parents will be so over the game and into chatting with each other that you will have even MORE fun!

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  6. Doug Smith
    Doug Smith 1 February, 2014, 06:33

    She obviously learned to pick herself up and not quit from someone. So, maybe a bit of pride is warranted, but then she did pick herself up and got back in the game. True athlete and true soccer mom.

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  7. stef
    stef 3 February, 2014, 10:44

    I have the same ego about my daughter’s basketball prowess, playing varsity ball as a freshman for our (very small) private school (where–ok, yes–if you sign up, you’re on the team).

    She isn’t a starter and doesn’t get to play as much as I wish she could. But she can sink 3-point shots like NOBODY’S BUSINESS when she does get sent in.

    Hearing everyone around me screaming “YEAH SYDNEY!!!!” Yep, those are the precious moments. And of course she gets it from me. *nodding modestly*

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    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 3 February, 2014, 15:19

      Hi Stef — It’s undeniable that we can’t help bogarting some of our kid’s accomplishments. Just comes with the territory.

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