Where I'm from, you're born with a string of Buckeyes around your neck and the confection of choice is a "drop you to your knees" concoction of peanut butter and chocolate - representing the world's greatest nut.
"O -H!" Can often be heard at any given time, from any given place, which acts as a rally cry (sometimes even a mating call) for the desired party to yell back, "I - O!"
Yes, I was raised with the game of football, sprinkled in with basketball, wrestling and baseball. Having three boys right in a row, I could all but envision them in their huddles together, playing for their home team.
Then it happened. The game of soccer.
Regardless of my upbringing...I actually should LIKE soccer. My Dad spent years growing up in Europe where it was the game of choice. By the time he came back to the States, he was pretty good and even played through college.
I on the other hand, had never even SEEN a soccer game until I went to college. I'll never forget it...I stood there watching with a confused stare as everyone ran around with no helmets or pads. It looked unbelievably exhausting and seemed to be impossible to follow.
Fast forward to the present day. Our second son Ethan, (you guessed it) loves the game of soccer. He begs to play at any chance and can't wait for the new season to begin. He constantly asks how many days, weeks, even months are left until he can play again.
This Spring when the time came for sports sign ups, we put our oldest son back on his baseball team, our youngest son and little girl were signed up to be on the same T-ball team...but Ethan wouldn't budge. We tried everything - from trying to convince him of how cool it would be to play ball with his brothers and sister, to how much fun he would have on opening game day. There's always a parade where the kids get to ride on floats or in the back of trucks and throw tons of candy.
Nothing mattered. All he wanted to do was to play soccer.
His first game was on Saturday. The five of us watched as he took the field with the biggest smile. The whistle blew and the game was on. He couldn't have been happier. He ran and kicked, went this way and that, as all of the kids on each team were focused on the same thing...the goal.
Last season, I found myself getting more "into" the game than I ever had before. Not that I understand most of it, but when I tried, it became pretty obvious what the objective was. In the simplest of terms...you want your kid's team to get the ball in the goal to make a point...and when YOUR kid actually gets the ball...forget about it.
Me...the most (what seems to be) un-soccer mom in America, can't stop myself from screaming and jumping up and down. I'm THAT mom who is yelling, "GO BABY!!! RUN!!! RUN!!! RUUUUUUUUN!!! KICK IT IN!!! THAT'S my BOY!!!"
I can act like I don't like the sport as much as I want to...but at the end of the day...I'm the biggest fan on Earth.
Ethan's team lost on Saturday (by a LOT) but it was one of the best games ever.
My favorite part was when he kicked the ball and missed the goal, then looked our way to find our reaction. Adam yelled, "It's okay Buddy, keep going!" then gave him a thumbs up. He nodded and quickly returned the gesture as he ran back up the field.
My football, basketball, wrestling and baseball heart grew a hundred times over as I leaned against Adam's side.
I shook my head and grinned saying, "That's our boy...
the soccer player."
Go Baby, Go! XO