Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Just call me Mia

Yesterday was a much needed day off from the part time. I had a good number of errands that needed doing and the fact that I'll probably be working a good bit the next couple of days kind of forced my hand as far as actually getting something accomplished.

As I was standing in line at Dick's yesterday with my new sneakers (mostly white for work) I noticed a woman ahead of me. She had two little girls with her. They were piling things on the countertop but it took me a minute to realize what it was.

Soccer gear.

For just a moment I was transported back to my own experience with "the other football". When I was was six my parents wanted to start getting me into more social activities. Spring of 1982 I was still an only child. They wanted to make sure I had social skills as well as the chance to try sports. Already I was part of a Brownie Troop. But my dad, probably somehow knowing he would never have any sons, wanted to get me involved in sports. Considering my inability to throw a ball (which is still true today) or catch anything, he came home one day and asked me if I wanted to try soccer.

Even when I was little, o.k., younger, I was always willing to try something once. So I nodded my head and off I went to my first practice. I. was. terrified.

Suddenly I was thrown in with all of these boys and girls who had already been playing a good year or two. Pass the ball? You want me to do what with my head? Spikes on my shoes? It took some time but eventually I got the rudiments of the game down, thanks in part to a very patient coach. Cinnie Frith. That was her name. My first ever coach. All I can remember about her now is that her son played on my team and she had a big house, to a seven year old that is.

But boy could that woman play.

I continued to play soccer through the 8th grade. At the time I entered high school we didn't have a girls' soccer league so like most of the girls I had played with, we played field hockey instead. When I got to college I decided I missed soccer too much so I joined the women's club team for my first two years. We had a blast, riding in the one girl's Astro mini-van to tournaments, getting cases of beer on the way home and showing up to games in our incredibley mismatched uniforms but having fun anyway.

God I love that game. Hell, I love sports in general.

Eventually I snapped out of my little day dream in time to see the girls and their mother head out the door. The one little girl asked if she could put her spikes on when she got home. I just smiled to myself, remembering my own first pair. I think my mom has them somewhere in the house. She wouldn't let me throw them away.

Still I wonder if those little girls will continue playing. Will they grow tired of it? Will they get hurt and find something else to do? Will some stupid boy make them think girls aren't supposed to play sports and take them out of the game forever? I hope not.

Because to me, a life without sports is just not a life at all.

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