Friday, November 7, 2008

In Support of Soccer Moms

I have something that I would like to say to those who sneer at so called Soccer Moms and Coach Dads, and who imply that encouraging and supporting our kids in these pursuits is nothing more than a means of achieving personal glory by forcing our kids to fulfill the dreams of our own disappointing youth.

Screw You.

Yep. You heard me. The only reason I can think of for a person to villify parents who take an active role in their kids' sports activities, or any activity for that matter is to justify their own disinterest in doing so.

As the Mom of boys, I get involved in martial arts, soccer and basketball because it's their "thing", and because there is no hope they they will ever be interested in retail therapy or anything that involves setting foot inside a beauty salon. There are some non-sporting activities that we enjoy together, and I cherish them. But libraries and museums simply don't hold as much appeal for them as a freshly chalked soccer field, or the sound of a basetball being dribbled against the hardwood. Whether I like it or not, these sports are where it's at right now. If I want to spend time with my boys, I have to take an interest in boy stuff. It's really that simple.

And I learned that when my boys were young and I tried valiantly to provide them with gender balanced playthings. The Queasy Bake Oven sat unused until my son realized that you can melt crayons and plastic soldiers in it. The gender neutral (read: not pink) kitchen set was upended and used as a citadel. The disturbingly asexual "friends" that I bought for them often ended up as prisoners of war, and were treated accordingly. And play-doh, more often than not, was launched, shot, or catapulted from various makeshift weaponry. The vacuum was a hit for a while, until the motor broke. Silent, it was nothing more than a glorified broom, and therefore, exceedingly uninteresting. I tried. But nature clearly outweighs nurture in the case of my boys, regardless of how desperately consistently the nurturing was applied.

Now, if someone can explain to me how encouraging, supporting, and becoming involved with an activity that gets my kids outdoors, away from television and video games, and which has been shown to reduce the risk of substance abuse and criminal activity is a BAD thing...I'm all ears. But if you're just going to spout a bunch of ignorant drivel about misspent youth and glory unrealized, you'll have to pardon me if I put my fingers in my ears and sing "Kiss Off" at the top of my lungs. But you know, it doesn't have to be sports. It could be anything. Find your kid's passion and then help them live it, breathe it, dream it. And let them know that whatever that dream is, you will be there to help him or her achieve it. Make them think you believe with all your heart and soul that they could be the next Mumenshantz. Let them know you give a darn about the finer points of competitive soap carving or interpretive clog dancing. I want my kids to look back one day and realize that I was at every game. Every match. Every whatever. That I sold hotdogs in the rain and washed cars in 40 degree weather so their team/troupe/band could go the playoffs or whatever it is that represents the pinnacle of achievement and prowess for their activity of choice.

It matters. And if you think it doesn't, you're fooling yourself.

That is all.

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