The Hatch-Palucks, Week 24: Me? A Soccer Mom?

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

amy hatch emmie picture

Emmie was one of the top-scoring players at her soccer camp two years ago, but it was her BFF who convinced her to actually join a team. Credit: Kathleen Nealon

The moniker "soccer mom" has always grated on my nerves.

It conjures up a specific stereotype of the suburban mother, shuttling her kid from one activity to another, with the mini-van chock full of athletic gear, children and sports drinks.

And yet, in a few weeks, that will be me.

We signed Emmie up for her very first youth soccer league this week, and she is very, very excited. She's participated in park-district programs here in Urbana before, but she was so young that the "soccer" they played on Saturday mornings looked more like a bunch of atoms bouncing around and knocking each other over.

When she was 4 years old, she attended a program called Challenger British Soccer Camp, where top-notch soccer coaches from Europe come to cities around the U.S. for week-long sessions to work with young kids.

Emmie was the top goal-scorer in her group of players, but she was a reluctant participant. I think it had a lot to do with her age and the fact that the majority of the other kids were boys. But, nonetheless, she showed significant talent for the game of soccer.

After her stint at the Challenger British Soccer camp, she chose to do gymnastics and sports-skills at the Little Gym of Champaign, instead. But, last fall, her best friend here played in an Urbana Park District league for little kids -- and loved every minute of it.

How is the Hatch-Paluck family doing? Check in on their progress!

Emmie thinks her BFF is awesome, and so it was her pal who finally persuaded her to jump back on the soccer bandwagon.

Emmie will be playing in the Sharkey's Fall Soccer program, where the kids will play games as teams, learning the rules and actually taking the field in competition against one another. It will be a riot, and such a good learning experience for her.

I never played an organized sport, and I sometimes wish I had. My parents weren't the type to force anything on me, and I always chose to read or play games of imagination instead. Of course, back in those days, I was also what would now be called a "free-range" kid.

I roamed the neighborhood freely with a pack of other children, playing "kick the can" and "ghost in the graveyard" until well after the sun set. In the winter, we would sled and run around the yard unsupervised, making snowmen and having snowball fights.

I'd love to be able to allow Emmie and Henry that same freedom, but we live in a subdivision that isn't filled with children, and our house is on a busy road trafficked by drivers who speed and don't watch where they're going. Our yard is too small for a swingset and the neighborhood park has equipment suitable only for kids ages 10 to 12.

Channing and I talked recently about the fact that we need to get the kids outside more often, and we're planning to buy them both bikes this spring. We're not outdoorsy folks, he and I, but we can go to the gym to get in our 120 minutes a week.

The kids don't have that luxury. It's up to us to overcome our own hangups about playing outside so that Emmie and Henry get to move their bodies more. We can't just toss them in the yard and be done with it -- we have to be active participants in their outdoor play.

And, we have to sign them up for organized sports.

Thus, I will soon be a soccer mom.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.