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Soccer season

The Northern Colorado plains at the base of the Rocky Mountains boast three seasons: Summer, winter and windy. According to the calendar, windy season happens towards the end of winter and for that part of springtime that isn’t so hot that it blends in with summer. When I refer to springtime I’m talking strictly about that calendar period of time spanning from March 21 to June 21. The calendar says it’s spring. We experience it as wind.

Soccer season for the kids begins right around the Spring Equinox and goes for about six weeks. Practices twice a week on the field in front of the elementary school. Games every Saturday morning. Children and coaches in the field running around, kicking balls already buffeted by the wind. Minivans and SUVs parked in neat little rows with parents inside. Some of the parents are texting; others are playing games on their smart phones. I am writing this essay, while hoping my baby keeps calm in the car seat. We are all staying safe from the wind which is causing our vehicles to sway.

My good friend is in the minivan just twenty-five feet away. When the weather is better we can both be seen by the playground supervising our too-young-for-soccer children, catching snatches of conversation when our children will let us. Today we’re both in our vans, while her daughter and my daughter make their way to their water bottles, holding hands against the wind. I think about moving to my friend’s van so we can visit, but it’s too much trouble to move the baby, and I have some work to do. My own van is way too cozy. It’s kind of like my waterbed in the morning when I know I should be getting up but instead stay put for another five minutes of sprawl time. She has a preschooler and a toddler in her van, so she too stays put.

The wind blows and the children brave it while attempting to hone their ball handling skills. My van shakes. I type another sentence. My baby moves and coos but seems content.

The wind is only the beginning. I’ve had children in soccer for three years now. They have practiced and played in rain, sleet, snow, bitter cold, and more wind. Occasionally they’ve enjoyed a sunny day for a practice and game. The league provides oversize jerseys which can be worn over coats on game days. On the sunny warm days they look like dresses. Either way, they help the parents and referees keep the teams straight.

If some extra terrestrial visitors were to fly over the soccer field today, they would probably assume that we earthlings engaged in a unique form of child torture. We make them get out and run around in the wind while we sit inside our warm vehicles playing with our electronic toys.

On the other hand the children don’t seem to mind. My preschooler who is not on a soccer team is also out braving the wind. She came back to the van to tell me she’d made a new friend. They are happily sliding down the slide. We’ll be here for an hour and a half or so. Then we’ll go home and make dinner. I might treat my crew with hot chocolate. I’m hoping the wind succeeded in helping them expend some of their boundless energy and that they will all sleep very well tonight.

Kids, coaches and balls out in the field braving the wind. Moms, babies and electronics in the neatly parked vans. First game this Saturday. The local insanity we call soccer season is well underway.

Soccer


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