Tuesday, August 30, 2011

That's What She Said

I don’t know how to say this, so I’ll just come right out with it: there’s a lot of soccer mom porn on the internet.

Who knew, right? I clued in when I checked my blog’s statistics and found that strangers are googling variations on the phrase ‘hot soccer moms’, along with some, er, more dodgy stuff and finding my blog. (Examples: ‘old women squatting’ and ‘clown sex’ have brought them to me. Sniff. So proud....) I was wondering if my blog might have accidentally seeped into a pornographic genre, since, after all, you can read the subtitle in a pretty suggestive way– Stories from a Different Kind of Soccer Mom could mean anything, really - so the other day curiosity finally got the better of me and I decided to google the phrase ‘soccer mom porn’ to see if my blog came up. (For the first time ever, Steve offered to help me with research for my blog! How thoughtful. )

I declined, however. I figured I could probably handle this on my own. Nervous, I googled, and then I only opened one eye and peeked at the screen. That phrase did bring up over 5 million hits. Mercifully, there were no pictures (since I didn’t follow through and click on anything), but I did read some charming introductory sentences about coaches helping teach soccer moms how to score and how some soccer moms get punished in intriguing ways for not remembering to bring oranges at halftime. Many were really descriptive, pointing out that soccer moms have all different colours of skin and hair and come in all sorts of shapes, with uh, soccer ball sized, uh, attributes. And did you also know that some soccer moms are grandmas?

So...even though my blog appears to be safe for the time being, I’m playing around with some different blog headings. Scroll up and check out my new title and subtitle. [Kick (a soccer ball): Stories from a different kind of (fully clothed) soccer mom] Thoughts? The brackets might be a little too much. When you say it all together, it’s a bit of a mouthful. Jeez, this is really hard.

Crap. Everything sounds pornographic when you think about it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Soccer Stuff

Oh, hi - was I supposed to be writing a blog? Dang. The weather's been so beautiful that the idea of sitting inside and typing has not held any appeal. Don't worry, I'm still a sucker for soccer, as evidenced by these three recent soccer items I've acquired:

First up:

You can read, so I guess you know it's a bicycle bell. To ring it, you pull back on the soccer cleat and let it go, and it kicks the ball and makes an old-timey clangy sound. I know it's ridiculously twee. I would never actually put it on my bike, because my bike is cool and new and smokin', and this bell would definitely take it down a notch. I just like carrying it around, walking up behind Steve and making the clanging sound to annoy him.


Soccer kleenex for my purse. Yup, nothing says you love something like blowing your nose on it.

And finally:

This soccer wine bottle stopper was a gift. A gift from someone with the quaint, misguided idea that I might open a bottle of wine and not consume the whole thing in one sitting. Preposterous! But thoughtful.

Hope you are enjoying the lazy summer days as much as I am.....

Friday, August 12, 2011

Darth Vader and Me at Scrimmage Soccer

I’ve been calling my new custom knee brace Darth Vader, since it’s black moulded plastic and looks very imposing and badass. (It also cost about the same to make as a Star Wars movie.) Since it is super boring to write about wearing a brace, I started thinking about what it would be like to have the actual Darth Vader and his storm troopers show up for one of our Wednesday morning scrimmage soccer games, and thought I could write about that instead. After all, anyone is welcome. Here’s how I imagine it playing out. (Since DV is so menacing, I didn’t think I could write any dialogue for him, so I’ve taken all his lines taken from the actual Star Wars movies.)

Me, to Sue: Where is that ominous music coming from? She shrugs.

I turn and greet the storm troopers and Darth Vader: Hey guys, are you here to play?

DV: You may dispense with the pleasantries, commander.

Me: Um, okay. Wow, are you guys all on the same team or something? Nice uniforms. What are those, shin guards and uh, thigh guards? And almost everyone has matching white cleats and helmets? You are gonna get hot playing. Wild.

DV to the storm troopers, pointing at me: She is as clumsy as she is stupid.

They all laugh, although it’s hard to hear it through their helmets.

Me: Trash talking already, eh? Okay, I can take it. And how did you know I was clumsy? You haven’t even seen me play yet! Hehe, you’re probably right though. But seriously, you’ll have to wear this white pinney if you want to play on the same team as your friends.

DV, reluctantly: As you wish.

DV puts on the pinney. It snags on his helmet on the way over his head and is quite ill fitting with the cape sticking out the bottom and all the buttons and lights and stuff on his chest and belt kind of poking through. He sighs heavily and I notice his heavy breathing.

Me: Dude, are you okay? You’re already huffing and we haven’t started playing yet! Maybe you want to take off the cape? Don’t want it to slow you down, right?

DV stares at me. I think he is mad now. I realize he might be the kind of guy who can dish it out, but can't take it. Now I notice there’s some kind of metallic robot with all of them, trying to offer him a tray of oranges, perhaps to appease him.

DV: You don’t know the power of the dark side!

Me:The Dark Side”? Is that your team name? Cool...but ...you’re the only dark one. Everyone else is in white. Shouldn’t you be called “The White Side”?

DV grabs an orange off the robot’s tray, but then realizing he can’t eat anything with his mask on, throws it angrily to the ground. The robot starts to fret.

DV angrily points a finger at me:
The force is strong with this one.

Me, confused: Wha? Whatever. Just--- no slide tackling. The other players head out to the field. And do you want Gerry for your goalie? He’s already wearing white and he’s pretty good.

DV: He will join us or die.

Me: Dude! Die? Stop talking so crazy cray. Let’s just get going here. Uh, I guess we’ll start with the ball.

DV shakes his head and starts to take a small metal thing that looks like a remote control out from under his cape.

Me: Hey what is that thing? Is that some kind of linesman flag? We don’t need flags, it’s just pickup soccer—honour system sort of deal.

A stream of light comes out of this thing, like a sword.

I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.

Me, backing up slowly with the light mere inches from my face: WTF?! Fine, you guys start with the ball. Take it! I throw it at him.

DV, carrying the ball, walking away from me, pointing his sword at me like a mafia kingpin: Only your hatred can destroy me.

Me: Why are you talking like that?! Dude, it’s scrimmage soccer. Just here to have fun. Relax!

DV takes the ball and throws it on the ground in front of him and dribbles with it towards our net. Some of the storm troopers run with him calling for the ball, but he is a hog and doesn’t pass to anyone. (Jerk.) When someone from my team tries to check him, he holds out his hand towards the defender from several feet away and the defender is lifted off the ground, holding his throat. DV scores easily and then tries to get some of the storm troopers to high five him, but they don’t seem too eager. When DV has his back to the storm troopers, one of them gives him the finger.

One of the young guys on my team, Luke, plants his face in his palm: Oh God. I think that’s my dad. How embarrassing.....

Friday, August 5, 2011

Silent But Deadly?

Until this week, I had never heard of silent soccer.

Some Ontario kids teams are trying it out-- it’s where parents and coaches watch their kids play soccer without any verbal input. Nothing negative is said, but nothing positive either—just nothing at all. Clapping is the only thing permitted.

Perhaps as a result of being silenced on the field, parents and coaches are sounding off about it a lot in the media, with people seeming to feel strongly both for and against it. The parents and coaches who like it seem to think the kids have more freedom to play without constant verbal assault, that it’s good for self esteem, and that the kids communicate better with each other in the game. The ones who don’t like it say watching your kids soccer game is boring enough without sucking all the fun out of it, and isn’t it better to yell encouragement than stare at your blackberry while you’re supposedly spending quality time with your kid?

At first I didn’t know what to think and I wanted to make this blog an artsy statement piece in which I brought up silent soccer and then was silent about it- perhaps doing an interpretive dance instead- but then I realized I have few enough readers as it is, and I can’t afford to alienate them with weird crap like that. (Also, really, no one needs to see me do that.) But when the Globe and Mail interviewed Silken Laumann about it, I knew I had to step in, because come on guys, she’s a rower. What the hell does she know about silent soccer?

So, for what it’s worth, here’s what I think: unlike a soccer ball, this is not black and white. As a coach of 7 and 8 year old girls, I must say that it would be really hard to stand on the sidelines unable to say anything while a kid ran in the wrong direction with the ball, which, especially early in the season, happens more than you think. But I also think there are some real jackass parents out there who will not shut the hell up. They get so worked up they physically fight with other parents, or sometimes make teenaged refs head home crying from their abuse. (I read about one ref for whom things had gotten so out of control that he made every parent on the team spend the remainder of a game in their cars.)

But, to borrow a word from another parent on this subject: I also object to the wussification of sport by parents. If kids honestly can’t handle talking during a game then I doubt they are going to get very far in life. And if talking is so politically incorrect, that what else in soccer is next?

- Oranges at halftime could become taboo, since we live in cold Canada and oranges cannot be locally sourced. Maybe our kids should only be permitted to quench their thirst with rainwater gathered in barrels made from wood chewed by free range Canadian beavers.

- Uniforms unattractive? Perhaps your child doesn’t look good in yellow. To prevent loss of self esteem, maybe every kid could just wear whatever felt most comfortable and flattering for them- sure, no one would know who to pass to during the games, but we can’t have any hurt feelings.

- I’d also be willing to put in a vote for replacing the permitted clapping with finger snapping. No reason – I doubt any kids ears, already ravaged by ipods, are too sensitive to the sound of two fleshy palms, smacking together – but I just think finger snapping would be more groovy. Especially if we did it while we wore berets and smoked unfiltered cigarettes without using our hands.

Wait, now just like those yelly parents, I’ve gone too far. But you know what? I don’t need rules to reign me in. I’ll shut up now.