When we came back from CA I went on line to spend my birthday money on tickets for our family to go to a DC United game. Which was another story. But while I was on the web site, a notice caught my eye, that these MLS professionals were coming out to Sterling, our town, to do a fee soccer clinic for the first 200 kids age 7 to 13 who registered. Why not? I seriously doubted I'd be in the first 200 in anything, but it must have been by grace immediately after the notice was posted, and I slipped Jack and Julia in effortlessly. So Wednesday evening we drove them over to a local playing field for a dose of American culture.
200 kids, heavy on the 7-year-old size. 6 young men from DC United. Tents and merchandise and hooplah. It's all about community relations. Another 200 or more milling parents, taking photos from the sidelines. Clump ball and chaotic drills, but serious kids all inspired by this personal proximity with real players, the guys they watch on TV. Jack and Julia had a good time. Jack of course with his usual all-out intensity, and Julia of course asking the other 13 year old girls their names and smiling.
Note to self: my kids were the ONLY ONES not wearing shin guards. And I thought it was pretty high-tech to practice in SHOES, since cleats are the reserve of the official games in Africa, and never wasted on mere scrimmage and drill. Good to learn that here we suit up, fully, for practice too.
At the end of the hour the kids lined up to get their soccer balls autographed by each player, and were given a free DC United-logo shoe bag. An hour of soccer, interaction with a bunch of kids we've never met, talking to celebrities, and goodies to take home, all for free.
Julia misses the sunsets, and thinks the water tastes funny, and sighs about Acacia, and Star. We got a sweet letter from Ivan, Jack's best friend. We miss home. But America has its perks, and this was one of the fun ones.
And now that I've had a taste of success, I've enrolled them in the community soccer league (even though we'll miss half the season with support-thanking travel), and am exploring some music lessons. It's intimidating and a bit bewildering, and after experiencing the Yale parents I realize I have far to go. Luke is in a suite with 5 other guys. And 5 great moms. People who were running hither and yon to buy one more bulletin board or couch or lamp, who had thought through things like winter coats and snow boots, who all seemed very competent and caring. We felt like kind of deadbeat parents who just brought our kid with a half dozen hangers, two pairs of jeans, and a computer. But I'm taking notes, and I may become a bona fide soccer mom yet.