Dear Mrs. Beauregarde

RFD-trophies

Dear Mrs. Beauregarde,

I don’t know you’re real name but I give nicknames to people who I “people watch” and you earned the nickname Mrs. Beauregarde.  Mrs. Beauregarde is the all-or-nothing; “keep your eye on the prize” mother of Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.  The new Charlie and The Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp not the Willy Wonka movie with Gene Hackman, I have to clarify because my husband likes the original and my daughter likes the new one.  I was a geek and read the actual book.

Mrs. Beauregard, you caught my attention at what is hopefully my very last ever soccer tournament.  You weren’t a parent on my field you were on a field behind me, and technically two fields away but I could hear you.  What caught my attention, and several other people’s attention, was your screaming at the top of your lungs “Get Open! Get Open! Don’t let her push you like that!  Push Back! OH MY GAWD, follow your shot… FOLLOW YOUR SHOT!” When I turned around I expected to see a USWNT World Cup qualifying match.  But what I saw was little girls – like I would have said they were eight year old little girls, but my son informed me that the tournament was U11 and up.  So ten-year old little girls, I was off a bit.  For fun, and because it was halftime, I actually turned my chair around and started watching you.

You were sitting near the 15 yard line (yes there are yard lines in soccer – they aren’t marked but they are there) and every time your child’s team got near the goal you were out of your seat yelling.  You would scream all sorts of directions to poor little Violet, telling her to use her left foot, dribble more, dribble less, and for God’s sake FOLLOW YOUR SHOT!  Um…. She’s ten.  If she can use her left foot to shoot she’s probably already got coaches lining up to sign her because even my left-handed 18-year-old son struggles with shooting left footed.  And the whole follow your shot thing, it’s a great idea, but again she’s ten and is probably tired and knows she now has to run back to play defense.

In all fairness, Mrs. Beauregarde, it’s all about perspective.  You are at the beginning of your child’s soccer “career” and this is quite possibly even your first season.  I am at the end, or at least the end of travel soccer and I have a lot of experiences to reflect back on.  I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never yelled at a soccer game because I have, but usually I’m yelling things like “Watch your mouth! Was that yellow card really worth it? Retaliation always gets the foul.” and again “Watch your mouth!”  And truth be told I don’t usually yell, I wait until he’s near me on the field so I can say it at a reasonable volume.  Mostly because I know that screaming at the very top of my lungs means that everyone within three fields of me is turning around to see who that parent is.

I hope your daughter loves playing soccer.  I hope she loves it enough to want to keep doing it in spite of the fact that she has that parent on the sideline yelling and screaming at her every time she has the ball.  I’ve seen that nearly ruin a soccer player.  I mean how embarrassing must it be for a child to have to tell their parent to stop yelling during a game?  I’ve seen that happen.  Of course there’s the chance that your daughter is learning from you and acts just like you.  And eventually will start yelling at her teammates in the same condescending manner you yell at her.  That doesn’t end well either – in case you’re wondering – and yes I’ve seen that happen too.

Currently you are on a crash course to being the parent everyone avoids at the games.  And unfortunately for your daughter the parent that the coaches avoid at all costs.  Like fake-a-seizure-so-I-don’t-have-to-talk-to-that-parent kind of avoidance.  The kids pick up on it too and will probably start teasing her.  Yes, I’ve seen that happen too – it’s not pretty.  Again, I hope she loves soccer so much that all of these things won’t matter to her because if she doesn’t in a few years she will hate soccer.

I don’t know what your motivation is for acting that way.  There are all the cliché reasons like you didn’t get to play soccer, got cut from a team, never realized your full potential, or you were great a soccer player back in the day and want your kids to be like you.  Maybe it’s because soccer is expensive and you expect more for your money (PS if this is your reason you should quit now).  Or you just expect perfection from everyone, or hell, maybe you just like to scream at the top of your lungs.  It doesn’t really matter why you do it, you just need to stop.  For your daughter’s sake, or if nothing else so you don’t have to pay for therapy when she’s 16.

In closing, Mrs. Beauregarde, please know that it’s just one game.  You will have hundreds more in your future and Violet will make mistakes and she will make awesome plays too.  There will terrible calls from the officials that can’t be reversed.  There will be wins and losses.  There will be good coaches and bad coaches and sometimes she may not get to play the position she wants to play.  If you can’t accept all of this you need to quit now because it’s going to get a lot harder as she gets older.

Remember, “Keep your eye on the prize!”  Just realize the prize isn’t always winning.

Dear New Soccer Mom

soccer net

Dear New Soccer Mom,

 

In all fairness you’re probably not a “new” soccer mom but you are either new to club soccer or new to high school age club soccer.  I crossed paths with you on Saturday but I’m sure you didn’t notice me.  Actually you may have noticed me because I saw you glance my way before asking another mom where she got her “super cute” stadium blanket with her team’s logo.  I’m guessing the reason you were asking about the blanket it because you were absolutely freezing.

 

I figure you are “new” because you truly didn’t dress appropriately for spending 90 minutes in 30 degree weather with 15-20 mile per hour winds.  Oh don’t get me wrong, your outfit was totes adorbs!!  The stylish flared grey plaid pea coat and trendy black leggings with the Tommy Hilfiger riding boots was quite an outfit.  And the knitted headband with the bow and Michael Kors bag just tied the look together.  But I noticed you were missing gloves.  I’m not really a fashionista so I’m not sure if gloves would have been appropriate with the outfit.

 

What I do know, is that you were freezing.  You had to be.  Because I was cold – very cold.  And I had on jeans, a tee-shirt, a sweatshirt, a coat that is made for skiing and I was wrapped in a sleeping bag that guarantees it keeps you warm even when the weather is 30 degrees.  Oh yes, and I had on gloves.  Gloves that are also supposed to keep you warm when the temperature is below freezing, although I’m seriously questioning their claim after this past weekend. I also had my Under Armor ear warmer, also made for skiing.  I did forget my boots, not chic mid-calf boots or Uggs but actual winter snow boots.  Which was awful because my feet froze.  That was my fault for not just wearing them but they are a little clunky and hard to drive with so my plan was to change when I got to the soccer field but I left them sitting on the table at home.  I still make mistakes.

 

I will give you props because I watched – you were on the field south of me – and you lasted until half-time before disappearing, I’m guessing to the car with the heater going full blast.  You need to know you have reached a new level of soccer and weather that isn’t always favorable to being fashionable.  Soccer that starts as early as the last weekend in February and can last until nearly Thanksgiving.  Given that we live in the Midwest the best I can tell you is to plan for any and all kinds of weather because unless there is lightning you will be playing. 

 

I have survived the last five years by understanding that you should always plan for it to be cold – even in the summer.  There are levels of cold too.  There is sunny and cold which is the best you can hope for in February, March, October and November.  Then there is cold and rainy, cold and sleeting, cold and snowing, and cold with a wind chill making it feel like 25 degrees.  For spring and early fall there is also the consideration that there will be rain – think monsoon.  Rain is hard to plan attire for though, other than an umbrella but an umbrella is no help when it’s raining sideways.  I’ve seen parents in motorcycle rain gear on the sideline though and considered purchasing some.

 

Also the stadium blanket you were asking about – skip it.  I mean you can buy one if you need to show support for your club or whatever, but if you are interested in actually keeping warm you need to purchase a cold weather sleeping bag.  Why a sleeping bag?  Because you can sit in it and are protected from all sides.  I have tried all different types of blankets and trust me, you want a sleeping bag.  Mine is an old one that we’ve had since we got married, but if I had a few more soccer years to go I’d buy a new one that is rated for weather 24 degrees and below.

 

I’m just offering advice.  Like I said your outfit was swanky.  It would have been nice if you were going shopping or to a brunch date.  If I could pull off an outfit like that I would, but I’m not a very girly girl.  If you take nothing else away from this, please buy a ski coat and gloves!  I know mine is basic black and no frills, but trust me there are stylish ski coats out there.  I used to have a few that were more colorful.  And I know you won’t, but buy it one size too big.  This way you can layer a bulky sweater or sweatshirt underneath it and still be comfortable.  You’ll appreciate it when it’s sleeting.   Yes your child will play when it’s sleeting.   

 

If it helps, on Sunday I overheard another group of mom’s who also shared your sense of style.  It was warmer Sunday so the leggings/riding boots brigade was out in full force. One mom who had a big and bulky coat was telling all her co-soccer moms she went shopping during the break between games and she had to explain to the clerk at Charlotte Russe she was only wearing it because of soccer and they had a laugh.  See it’s easy to explain why some weekends you look like you’re wearing enough cold weather gear to climb Mt. Everest.  There is a Pinterest page dedicated to Soccer Mom Fashion – see below.  Sigh – Sometimes I really wish I was making these things up.

 

Remember you can always show off your chic suburban mom look in May or August – when you have 50/50 shot of it being 72 and sunny or 90 with a heat index of next to the sun.

soccer mom style 2