For the last month, my Sundays have been filled with a new venture for the girls and I – soccer. Now, I have to admit that I was not a huge soccer girl before they began playing. Soccer just wasn’t big when I was a kid. While I was fortunate enough to be born at the time of Title IX, it was still too early to have had an impact on early childhood sports for me. Baseball was the only option, and that’s what I played in 3rd or 4th grade. My Catholic school had a track team that disbanded when I was in 4th or 5th grade, so boys basketball and girls cheerleading was all that was available for sports until high school.
I played softball in high school, was a cheerleader, ran track, and floundered in a pool enough to be on the newly formed swim team my senior year. Beyond that I watched sports on TV – LOTS of sports on TV – thanks to being the youngest of nine in a house where sports was king and TVs were few. I learned to love the major sports, which included hockey but not soccer. Maybe it was because it snowed 8 months out of the year in Western NY, but soccer was not even on the radar back in the day.
[As an aside, knowing sports as a girl is a good thing when trying to strike up conversations with boys. My friends relied on me to say things like, “Wow, could you believe they left Martinez in to face Fielder?” or “You know, had the Bills not got that penalty late, wide-right would’ve never happened” to the cute group of guys in college. Funny thing is that my Country Boy doesn’t watch sports, so I had no advantage there. I had to rely on my in-depth knowledge of hunting, mules, and archery. Oh, that’s right. I don’t know anything about those things. You’ll have to ask him how I caught his eye then because I have no clue but I’m glad whatever it was worked.]
Anyways, the girls wanted to play soccer this year and so they signed up for the local recreation league. At first, things were a little dicey. Some of the kids have been playing for 6 years already, so their skills are amazing. They were dancing circles around my girls at the first few practices. It wasn’t fun to watch (and I can only imagine how the girls felt).
And we practice.
We work on dribbling nearly daily thanks to our loooooong driveway and two soccer balls left conveniently at the end for the girls getting off the bus.
We cheer for little victories during the games, like good steals and passes.
Soccer is starting to grow on me. I’m glad that they’ve had a chance to try it out to see if it might be the thing that captures their fancy for a sport.
And I am thankful for Edith Green, the pioneer of Title IX, for starting the soccer ball (and many other sports balls) rolling for girls throughout this great country.
This kick’s for you.