It seems odd to have Son One lying around the house like the last sock in the dryer on Saturday mornings this fall; at19 it's time for the old man to retire his sports drink and shin guards. That's tough for a guy who's been playing the game where feet do most of the handiwork since the ball was bigger than his behind. Years ago he learned the important points of soccer: fruit at halftime, good stuff after the game. A cupcake in the hand beats a chip shot over the goalie’s head.
At our local soccer games, parents line the sides of the field like eight-year-olds at a boy-girl dance, rooting for their kid to be the next David Beckham or Mia Hamm. I have news for them. The only thing that kid is going to bend like Beckham is the rule governing sportsmanlike conduct. And ten minutes after the game, the one person who is going to remember the score is the parent whose kid kicked the ball in the wrong goal by mistake. As soon as that final whistle blows the all clear, all the grimy, sweat-stained players rush the cooler like fruit flies on a rotten orange. It’s snack time.
Losing a game is tough, but after a battle there’s nothing like artificially flavored crème filling to lift a warrior’s spirits. So support your child in whatever sport he decides to play. Encourage him to excel. But when the action is over and life clears the bench, don’t let him walk off that field without a Ho Ho in his hand.