Saturday, January 29, 2011

Soccer Mom

This is my son Cody..doing what he loves best. Playing soccer. This pic was at a pick-up game during an O.M. tournament a couple of summers ago.

My name is Nicole.....and I am a soccer mom.

Or at least I have been for the past 14 and 1/2 years. I have chauffeured, fed, laundered countless muddy/bloody jerseys,cheered, complained, played a little ball (emphasis on little) know in a jam. I have been supportive..and I have been obnoxious...and tonight? It is all coming to a close.

Cody is playing the last game of his senior year with the FEAST Patriots. After starting at the ripe old age of 3, when they color coded goal posts and everything. We are finishing this chapter in our lives.

Cody has decided that he will not play for college (unless necessary for finances). That he would (gasp) like to focus on his studies his freshman year.

And let me tell you..we are finishing out in true soccer family style. Lack of compassion and everything. The kiddo is sick. Like he ran a fever for 3 days..but THIS? THIS was his last tournament..and a State tournament at that? So what did we do? Like a good soccer mom..I loaded him with Tylenol, EmergenC and Day-Quill..and said..are you sure you want to do this? Just let me know if we need to leave...and then we headed to the tournament.

I visit with other parents while he practices with his team. I cheer with every goal he blocks. I complain when I think there are unfair calls...and when he comes back at the 1/2? I rush down to the bench and ask
How are you holding up? Should we go? 

And Cody? Well..he looks at me like I had grown a third head..and very matter of factly holds up a bottle of Tylenol and says..I'm fine..I'm popping my pills. 
..He drinks some water..and goes off with his team.

I return to the know..I'm fine, I popped my pills is just what all mothers want to hear.(yes..that was a touch of sarcasm there) and then I proceeded to watch the second half.

They won. Cody lied down on the cement to rest between games. I can't let it be.
Do you want some food?

No..Cody peers up at me through squinted eyes,again with the three-headed mom look I'll throw up.

  How's your head? I persist. Does it still hurt?

Honestly?..I can't even tell. I offer to take him home again. He wants to stay..and relieved. Because sick or not? This is where I want to be..on our final weekend. We both know we need the closure.

So Cody shuts his eyes and takes a mini-nap..right there on the cement between games.

Big B and I leave him there to find some food for us, because we are not sick. We reminisce. We discuss how quickly the years have gone. When Cody first started playing he still did not talk. I mean really did not talk. But he was drawn to soccer, and Big B and I were pleased to see him interacting with other kids without, you know, hitting them. So Cody started soccer at the ridiculously young age of 3.

He had an awesome coach that just pointed him in the right direction and let him take the ball to the goal. Every game he would give the team (all those 3, 4 and 5 year olds..because Cody played with this team for 3 years) the same directions.  Did everyone get there magic gum for after the game? (Bazooka gum). Does everyone have their tattoos? (they often wore matching wash-off scare the other team)..and then Coach Ray would end with're the pilot of the're the left wing, A you're the right wing...and don't forget..get the ball to Cody and point him in the right direction. If he scores for the wrong team? I hold the entire team responsible. Just turn him in the right direction. 

And this strategy worked for 3 years! When we moved to Bandera..there was no year-round ball. Cody played seasonally, and attended some camps at the Jewish Community Center and one of the local colleges.

Then? We hit high school and realized we need to expand our ball playing to other cities. Cody played with the homeschoolers in the private school league..he played Club Ball (Div. 2, Div. 1, Select, etc.).He played rec. ball. He played pick-up games.  Until the Fall season of his Junior year. Cody was starting to play in more and more competitive leagues. Which he thought he wanted..but once he hit that top level? He realized it wasn't for him. Cody missed playing for fun. So he decided to resign from Club ball..and just play for fun and the home-schoolers.

And during all this time we spend endless hours in the car. We listen to books on tape when he is We listen to c.d..with songs like "wordplay" by Jason Miraz and "wiseman" by James Blunt..and always..or almost always..In Italia. Because In Italia? his getting in the zone song.

So now here we are. 14 and 1/2 years of soccer games...and we are still ending with obsessive ridiculousness. Cody's fever broke. Thank goodness. But he did manage to sprain his ankle during the second game last night. So after sleeping late, we discovered..a swollen, slightly discolored ankle. Before I could say it Cody responded. I'm playing. We'll deal with it later. So I prop him in front of the t.v. with a bag of frozen spinach on his ankle. He spends the morning watching Shaoulin Monks throwing hay through an eye of a needle..and a documentary on the organic coco industry. We serve him french-bread pizza for lunch. Big B informs me in a panicked whisper that Super S is out of bazooka gum! (Big B sees this as a very bad omen) 

And now? Cody is dressed..ankle wrapped and ready to go to his last game.

It is the State Final (They made the final round) The Patriots from Tyler vs. the Patriots from San Antonio. I'm betting the Patriots Win!

But win or lose? We are about to have some closure. Cody is leaving this part of his life behind..and moving onto other things. Schools, jobs, etc. My boy is growing doors are opening.

So I leave you with our final traveling song.  Ciao.

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