Ella started Lil’ Kickers this last weekend. Yay! Yep, we enrolled our daughter in organized soccer at 21 months exactly. I know you are probably thinking that we are trying to force feed our daughter into being the next Mia Hamm. And, maybe we are. Get over it! In all seriousness, we enrolled Ella in soccer because it is an activity on a Saturday that I can actually attend since I’m usually working during all weekday activities. At this age Lil’ Kickers is parent and child participation so I love being able to run around with her. Of course, when mom is around dad is only cool for so long so Bethany and I subbed in and out. It was a fun hour! We played red light green light, stacked and kicked over cones, kicked bubbles, ran through an obstacle course, played with a parachute, and attempted to dribble a soccer ball. Watching toddlers who are just starting to run
try to dribble and kick a soccer ball is comedy at its best. Little Joey couldn’t care less about the ball and insisted on running toward a coyote, yes a real live coyote, who was checking out class. Another little girl, Morgan, wanted to kick everyone else’s ball. Isabel didn’t want to do anything and another boy only wanted to bounce on the air tubes that outlined the field. As for Ella, she mostly wanted to pick up the soccer ball and throw it. Poor coach Tim had his hands full trying to keep class going and the parents spent most the time scrambling to corral their kids. All in all it was a kick of a morning for our little family.
There’s more to the story though. I had ulterior motives. I was going to make friends. We have some amazing friends that are our best friends and will be for a lifetime. We do most everything with these couples. The only drawback is that we live in Issaquah, and while a few of our friends live close the rest live on the the other side of the pond in North Seattle. When we get together with friends outside of Issaquah it has to be planned and is a slight production with a toddler. As Ella gets older and is able to do more I think it would be great to have some more friends close by for impromptu BBQ’s, trips to the park, dinner out, or any other shenanigans. I figured that Lil’ Kickers would be a great opportunity to meet other families who have common interests. Bethany got a good laugh when on the way to soccer I made the comment I felt like I was on back on the dating scene. That is truthfully what it felt like, in a way. Let me explain. We got there early to check Ella in and get her jersey, which stressed me out more than anything. More on that in a minute. After we got her checked in we headed down to the field and I immediately started sizing up parents. I’m canvassing back and forth making mental notes. Are they our age, do they have a boy or a girl, is the dad wearing any Seahawks gear, can I see Bethany and the mom clicking, and so on. I determined there were some candidates and settled into the start of class. As class got going it was time to break the ice. This is always the most awkward part. It usually goes something like this.
Me: Hey, I’m Cody.
Them: Hey, I’m Gino.
Me: What’s your daughter’s name?
Them: My son! His name is Hamilton.
Me: Oh sorry! He’s a cute little guy.
Me: What do you do, Gino?
Them: I work for Microsoft (go figure!)
Me (in my head): Ok, well that guy over there looks cool. Get Ella to kick the ball in their direction.
I played that game all morning long. One guy blew me off mid-sentence to go yell at his pregnant wife for not taking enough pictures. He was also wearing a gold chain and combined with the way we treated his wife I put him directly into the narcissistic bucket and decided not to strike up the conversation again. There were some pretty cool families and a few of the dads were indeed wearing Seahawks swag so we’ll see how the rest of the classes go. Maybe we’ll come away with some new friends that live close by. If not, no big deal. Before I fell head over heels for Bethany my dad always told me, “When one gets away you have to put your hook back in the water and start trolling again.” That’s what we’ll do.
Now, for the stressful jersey situation. As we were checking Ella in, the coach asked Ella what number she wanted. My heart immediately started racing! This was a big deal and I wasn’t prepared for this so early in her life. Whatever number she ends up with could very well end up being her lifetime number so it better be a good one. My lifetime number was 13. I first wore 13 in little league at the age of 8 or 9. From that day forward 13 was my number and all my friends knew it was off limits. You see, they knew
13 was my number because I had street cred. You heard me right, I had street cred. The earlier in life you get a number the more street cred you have to lay claim to that number. If anybody ever wanted to contest me for the number 13 all I had to say was, “Nuh-uh, I’ve been wearing 13 since I was 8!” BOOM, now take your ball and go home, son. Side note, nobody else ever wanted unlucky number 13 anyway. Ella was getting the opportunity to develop her street cred at 21 months, that’s huge. We picked the number 2 since Ella is almost 2 years-old. I think 2 is a great number and if she chooses to make it her lifetime number I highly doubt any kid will ever be able to play the trump card on her street cred. I just don’t see anybody being able to say, “Yeah, yeah well I’ve been wearing the number 2 since I was 15 months. Actually I was born wearing the number 2.” Now, re-read that last sentence in your best 12 year-old voice, it’s fun.
Seriously, don’t be too school for cool. Go back and read the last sentence with your best 12 year-old voice.
To tie it all together it just goes to show that as a parent you never know what is coming next. An easy, laid back morning at the park could lead to a life long friendship or the need to make a critical parenting decision in the clutch under pressure, such as choosing a jersey number. It’s all about street cred!