Friday, April 9, 2010

The Dream Team

I really didn’t intend to play soccer with the boys. When I registered for indoor soccer I asked if there were any other girls signed up and was told yes, there was one other. Then on the first night, I saw no women, but I did meet a guy named Ashley. I stuck around anyway.

Over the years, the guys have grown to tolerate me and pass to me, although it was tough at first . (After years of running up and down the gym, waving my arms and yelling Hey! I finally wore them down.) Sometimes we have another girl or two show up, and mostly they struggle at first too, but we do have one superstar – Jodi. She’s amazing. She plays for the Whitecaps and the Canadian National Team and occasionally, when she’s injured, she slums it with us – and she is the best player on the floor. When I was Jodi’s age, I wasn’t mature enough at all to commit to soccer the way Jodi has, and I definitely didn’t have the same level of skill. But at times I do wonder, wistfully, if I knew then what I know now....

When they made the teams in indoor soccer, they put Jodi and me on separate squads – to spread out the girls, of course. But then one time I asked to be on her team, and it was great. We scored a lot of goals together, and by that I mean she danced around and did all the work, and I stood around in front of the net and just flicked the ball in when she passed it to me (that’s how I roll).

At one point she said “I’m so impressed with your shot,” and even though I am old enough to be her mother, I felt all shy and weird and flattered. And then the following week she showed up with this older woman who sat in the viewing gallery above the game, watching us. I’ve met Jodi’s mom, so I knew it wasn’t her, so who was it? My imagination started working overtime – this is a scout for the Whitecaps! She is here to see me! It was because of my incredible shot, of course – Jodi had told her about all the goals we scored together and she wanted to come to see me play and ask me to play for the Whitecaps too. With Jodi.

Now I know this is ridiculous. Let me defend myself a little though: no one ever sits up there, in the viewing gallery. Once, someone brought their kid because they couldn’t get a babysitter, and he sat up there and read a book, but otherwise I never see anyone there. And why would a woman sit there and watch us so intently? And show up with Jodi? Right after she said that to me?

Okay, it is still ridiculous. It was so ridiculous, in fact, that when I came home and told Steve what had happened, he laughed so hard at me that he put it in our Christmas letter. He wrote about everything going on in our lives, and even though it all had a whisper of truth to it, none of it was real. He started the letter by saying that I was the oldest (yes, he said oldest) woman ever to be invited to try out for the National Team, and that our daughter Hannah was dancing the lead in Swan Lake and was being thrown around the stage by her partner (she was 8), and that our other daughter Sophie was making dioramas of the death scenes from Hamlet (she was 6) and that we had taken a backpacking trip to Peru to study llama poetry, and had subsisted on gibbon milk. (He is a poet.) But the weird part was...some people believed it for a second! Some people called after they got the letter, saying, “Wow, I actually thought the letter was true, until I got to the llama part.”`s not just me. For a split second, other people who are far away and who I often don`t talk to anymore, and who are insanely busy and who skimmed our Christmas letter through quickly—those people thought I might have had a chance to play for the National Team too!

For the record, my playing was truly awful that night the woman came to watch and I never found out who she was.

No comments:

Post a Comment