Twenty-seven years ago today, we pulled into the gravel parking lot of Lisa’s one-room “studio” apartment in Susan’s white four-door Jeep Cherokee, “Butch Running Truck.” Ostensibly, my friend Lisa was making the two of us a treat for my birthday. We climbed steep outdoor stairs and knocked on the glass door.
“Surprise!” Lisa and several of my other graduate school friends yelled.
“Eeek!” I countered.
We all sat on the floor talking, and then, as if by magic, out came The Cake, with twenty-eight candles on top (including one to grow on). When we were young, my sisters and I had that chocolate cake for every birthday. My mom had grown up not having to wait for birthdays to eat it: my grandmother had baked the two-layer, round, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting every week for my grandfather. The frosting had a bit of coffee in it, taking a little of the edge off its powdered sugar base. I usually asked for raspberry jam in between the layers, which, of course, my mom had included in her instructions to Susan. Yes, less than a year after having become “lovers” (as we referred to ourselves back then) and without having had any previous introduction (because while I was “out” to my parents, I wasn’t as far out as to talk about my “private” life), Susan had called my mom to get the recipe. She had smuggled the cake to Lisa’s earlier that day so that I wouldn’t catch even a glimpse of it beforehand.
That was my first of twenty-three birthdays with Susan, who made every single one of them special. I don’t mean the syrupy-sweet, overused “on your special day” kind of “special.” She tailor-made distinctive celebrations and gifts for me–and for many others. My sister and her family often came to our house for their August birthdays so that we could sit, surrounded by streamers and with party-hat elastic biting into our chins, and eat shish-kabab Susan grilled with her “Yummy Yummy Marinade.”
I sent this to the Malden papers. I thought I’d share it here. I was so happy with how our eight-ten year old girls were playing soccer together, I was jumping up and down on the sideline with excitement!
Over Memorial Day weekend, a Malden Girls Under-10 team went to the Danvers Invitational Tournament to test their mettle. The girls, from two different Malden Youth Soccer teams, quickly became mates, played great, and had a wonderful time at the Danvers Invitational. They left with fodder for great memories, uniform patches from the teams they played against, trophies, and a record of 2-1-1.
As a newly combined team with girls nervous to play in their first tournament, the first game was a little rough. On sweltering Saturday afternoon, Malden lost to Andover 0-7. Head coach Maria Cotter remarked that the score would have been much closer had the match been their third or fourth of the tournament instead of the first. “The girls gained confidence with every game and pulled together as a team really quickly.” Hugo Bonilla and Kim Brookes served as assistant coaches.
Given what soccer means to me now, it’s embarrassing to remember how little I knew about it when I went to see the U.S. Women’s National Team play in the 1999 World Cup against North Korea. I had a fantastic time, moving forward and back on my seat, popping up and yelling “YES!” then “uuuuuh” on the way back down. I triumphantly jumped up and down at each of our three goals, throwing my voice into the roar. I bought my first sports souvenir, a mini-ball, and thought about the match for days afterwards.
Honestly, I must have missed at least one of those goals. My son was six months old and spent much of the game in the baby backpack on the ground in front of me, cradled in between my knees. It was the only place that gave him a little shelter from the abrupt, and therefore startling, movements and noise of the big people surrounding him. Continue reading What’s the ruling?→
Two days ago, on January 30, Women’s Professional Soccer announced that they have “suspended” (according to Soccer Wire) the 2012 season. I’m left bereft: what about my team? What about my Boston Breakers? Also, I’m adamant I will start a blog post and actually finish it rather than leaving it in draft purgatory!
Most of the people I “follow” on Twitter are women’s soccer players, writers, fans, teams, or leagues. Whenever any of them writes a post (limited to 140 characters), it appears in my “feed,” also known as my Twitter home page. Two nights ago, I checked Twitter starting with that morning’s posts. The first murmur something was wrong with the WPS came mid-morning from reporter/blogger Jenna Pel of AllWhiteKit.com.