Friday, May 27, 2011

No Cutesy

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Canucks have not been taking a lot of shots in their series of Stanley Cup playoff games. This bothers Steve no end. As the sport-playing one in our family, I’ve endeavoured to explain to him that sometimes it is about quality of shots, not quantity, and the Sedins are just taking their time setting things up to be perfect. He ignores me, of course, and yells a lot at the TV. “Stop passing so much! Don’t be so cutesy! Just shoot already!”

The kids have picked up on all of this. We’re eating dinner in front of the TV a lot these days, watching games, and they are trying their best to cheer on our team. They just don’t know exactly how to cheer. Sometimes they say “Go Canucks Go!”, which is perfect. But the other night, deep into double overtime in game five, Hannah obsessively chanted “No cutesy, no cutesy, no cutesy, no cutesy,” for the better part of five full minutes. Since the Canucks success depends largely on my ability to concentrate on the TV screen (well, in addition to the players efforts, I suppose), I finally couldn’t take it anymore and I snapped. “Hannah! Enough! Please be quiet!” After the game, when I could exhale again, I remembered some of their other attempts at sports cheering, and I felt terrible for barking at her.

Let me explain: even though I play a lot of team sports, my family is not one of those sporty families. My kids don’t come to my games very often, and when they do, they never want to run or throw the ball around on the sidelines at my slo-pitch games-- instead, when they were younger, Steve would set up their folding chairs behind the backstop and read aloud to them. (All the catchers thought it was adorable, and when we were reading Harry Potter, I think some of them even listened in.) Once, when they were probably 4 and 6, we must have forgotten our novel, because instead, they sat there in their chairs and cheered me on. Instead of “Go Mom Go!”, or something of that ilk, the kids tried to think of something nice to say about me and ended up chanting “Skin Like Silk! Skin Like Silk!” I was giggling so much I could barely hold the bat. (Either that or my silky skin made it too slippery to hang on to the damn thing.)

So to make amends after the Canucks game chastising, I asked the girls a question. “How would you cheer me on, if you were watching me play soccer?”

“Uh, I guess ‘Go Mom Go’?”

Sigh. “That’s it?”

“Well, I wouldn’t want to yell too much Mom, since I wouldn’t want you to push yourself too hard. You’ve got to be careful with those knees.”

Oh dear. When did they get so responsible and mature? I need them to be more cutesy. What am I doing wrong?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Crash Into Me

Ever since I’ve started playing soccer again I’ve found myself focusing on two things. First, it’s hard not to remember the two glorious, kickass goals I’ve scored since I’ve been back, which, I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve replayed over and over in my head an absurd number of times; the other thing is the intense worry about getting injured again. I have spent an inordinate amount of time on crutches in my adult life and it is all my own doing, and all soccer related, and I find myself replaying the worst of those crutching days over in my head as well.

Here is one of those dud memories: in 1996 when I had ACL surgery the first time, on my left knee, the incision became infected and required a second operation 10 days later. It significantly slowed down my recovery process, since I ended up spending another week in the hospital. When I finally emerged from all that, there was lots more recovery time required, all on crutches, and I quickly grew very bored of being stuck at home. My first outing was to a movie with Steve. Guess what movie we decided to go see? Crash, by David Cronenberg. (Not to be confused with the more recent movie Crash, which won the Academy Award for best pic in 2004.) We didn’t know much about it, other than that it had been nominated for the Golden Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival, and that it was supposed to be kind of dark and edgy. We ended up going to the very first showing of the film available in the city.

Do you remember this movie? It starred James Spader, Holly Hunter and Rosanna Arquette. I checked it on this morning and here is the blurb:

After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub culture of scarred omnisexual car crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.

Umm, omnisexual? What is that, exactly? I’m terrified to google it because of what kind of ads may start to show up in my Facebook sidebar. Also, what is with the phrase ‘car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce’? I must admit that energy seems to be missing from any little fender benders I’ve been involved in. (Oh god, now even my use of the expression ‘ fender bender’ sounds sexual. What’s going on? Damn you, creepy David Cronenberg!) The point I’m trying to make is that this is a disturbing movie that features people who fetishize car accidents, and from what I remember, everyone in the film becomes slightly beat up looking and it’s meant to be a turn on-- Rosanna Arquette’s character has metal leg splints and a neck brace at one point and she’s supposed to be hot.

Going to this movie in the theatre was bizarre and embarrassing enough. Going to this movie on the opening day while limping in and out slowly on crutches was much, much worse. It looked like I was a wannabe character from the movie who had crashed my car on the way to the theatre and wrecked my knee on purpose so I could see this desperately weird Cronenberg movie and then go get boned by my husband in the parking lot in our smouldering vehicle.

What is the moral of this story? I’ll tell you what is not the moral: stop playing soccer because you are getting too old and get hurt all the time. Also, the moral is not ‘Patience is a virtue’ or some other cloying cliché. Here’s what I think the moral is: if you’re going to get it on with your husband after a movie, don’t do it in your car in the parking lot. No one needs to see that.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Soccer or Hockey? Hmm...

So I’m not sure if you’ve heard? But I think maybe there’s some kind of hockey thing going on in Vancouver right now? It has something to do with blue and green? Nah, just kidding – I’ve watched every minute of the Canucks playoff games and I know most of you have too. But all this focus on hockey is making me feel a little sad for my beloved soccer which, I would like to remind you, is the most popular sport in the world. (Just not in Vancouver.)

This fact was really driven home the other day when I saw an ad for tickets to a Canadian soccer match which said ““Tickets so cheap you can even take people you don’t like to the game”, and below that, where you click on the link for the ticket price, it said “Seriously? From $17.00?” They are even mocking themselves for being so cheap. And it was a bit tough to see just a few hours after viewing a friend’s Facebook complaint about paying $400 apiece for Canucks tickets for the next round.

I know, I know, the Whitecaps are an expansion team just starting out and are winless in their last 9 games while the Canucks are riding a wave of popularity ever since, well, forever, and especially since Kessler hoisted the whole team on his back and carried them through to the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I realize this is not a comparison of apples and apples. And yet, I feel compelled to make it. I know some parents who are struggling with that decision of hockey or soccer right now for their kids, so I’ve gone ahead and drawn up a comparison for you. It's completely unscientific and contains no research or proven facts at all, but you may still find it helpful.

Reasons to become a Canucks hockey player

- The pay is a lot more. A lot, lot, lot more.

- You don’t need to coerce people come to your games. Also, you win a lot.

- Apparently goals can even be scored from behind the net in hockey. (Unfortunately, most of those goals are against you, though.)

- That crazy homeless guy unshaved look is acceptable. Plus, you can save money on haircuts, since you will probably get them less often.

- There is the potential to get fashion tips from Don Cherry.

- You can play soccer with the Sedins in the hallway as part of your warm-up.

Reasons to become a Whitecaps soccer player

- You might get to keep all your teeth.

- No pesky hockey pads bulking up your svelte silhouette on national television.

- No need to worry about those behind the net goals.

- You can have a crappy game without everyone constantly talking about how you let them down.

- None of this Kessler-style-mid-game-stitches-without-freezing-and-get-right-back-out-there-nonsense. In fact, if you’re tired, just fake an injury and lie down for a while until they bring the stretcher out. You may even get a free kick out of it.

- There is the potential to get fashion tips from David Beckham.

- You get to play soccer all the time.

That last one is really the kicker. Need I say more?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

To My Daughters, for Mother's Day

I stole the idea for this from Tina Fey's Bossypants. It is culled from my many years of wisdom (well, mostly just from this last week) and contains advice and other things I want to make sure I pass on to my girls. (If you write your own and send it to me, maybe I can pick out the best parts and post them in a future blog. I might even give you credit.)

An Open Letter to My Daughters, on Mother's Day

- Never put white floors in your kitchen. Why do people even sell white flooring? Do they not know about gravity?

- Cooked broccoli and pasta are not finger foods. The fork is a truly wonderful piece of technology. One day, when you marry a prince, it will not only be because you are beautiful, but also funny and smart, and because you know your table manners.

- When you are a mom, work if you want to. Or don’t work if you can afford it and don’t want to. The point is not to obsess over that decision. But if you’re not going to be a mom, and you’re an adult, then for pete’s sake, work (or go to school). Work is as natural as playing or resting, and you can make good friends there. Plus, it’s good to use your brain for something. But most importantly, work because I’ll be damned if you think I’m going to let my adult child live under my roof sleeping in tiil noon every day and watching The Price is Right.

- If your house is too clean, your kids might get asthma. Or something. I read this somewhere, and I don’t have an exact source, but I’m sticking with it.

- You don’t have to play soccer to make me happy. Just do something you love to do, and don’t resent it that I played soccer so often. Whatever you choose, I want you to know the great joy of doing something fun in the sunshine with your friends. My only rule: the thing you love cannot be injecting heroin.

- I realize that taking off your socks at the end of the day can be a wonderful feeling, but do not leave those socks just anywhere. Take the two seconds to put them in the laundry. Even one day when you are Prime Minister and debating serious issues in the House of Commons, if you get the urge to remove your socks right then and there, it’s fine, but do not just leave them there by that thingy that looks like a throne. Put them in the dirty laundry basket in the corner and your elderly manservant Stephen Harper can wash them later.

- Don’t remember me as that lazy mom. Lazy is such a subjective word. Remember all those times that we lay in bed together that I wasn’t just being lazy-- we were having a lot of laughs.

- When you are a teenager and you are crying inconsolably about something, do not go look at yourself in the mirror, because the drama of your crying will just make you cry harder. You can stay in the bathroom if you want, but instead of crying, shove kleenexes up each nostril and leave them there. Then practice teaching yourself to raise one eyebrow at a time. This skill will come in handy later in life, when you are a mom and your own kids try to get some questionable stuff past you. How do you think I learned how to do that?

- Lately, you both seem to be losing your pants a lot. How does one lose pants? Please, please, don’t keep this up. When you are a teenager or young adult and are having so much fun that you actually lose your pants, have the wisdom to know that you have gone too far.