When we hear, “she’s a soccer mom,” we Americans all know the speaker means that the woman drives her kid, and perhaps their friends, to and from soccer in a minivan. Like all stereotypes, there is additional meaning lurking just below the surface. However, because this stereotype is “coded” with markers of the dominant culture, those of us within any part of that culture may not “read” deeper. A “soccer mom” drives a nice late-model minivan, the family’s second car. Her husband drives the sedan to work. The wife is probably harried by having to organize when she drives which kid where, but has the time to do it: she doesn’t [need to] work for pay. The husband, wife, and children (most likely biological) live in the suburbs. The practice uniforms, because they also have game uniforms, are clean when the kids leave the car and dirty when they come back. Unspoken but especially important to the stereotype is that the soccer mom is white. Continue reading The elusive “soccer mom” (and a bit of Betty Friedan)→
I am utterly absorbed by coaching soccer. This has been a surprising development in my life, with many wonderful consequences including the discovery that I love soccer as much as I love leading people. It is both challenging and fulfilling to help the boys improve at what they do well and strive to get better at what they think they can’t do. I help them show themselves the power of teamwork.
Coaching kids is remarkably like building and leading a work team of adults. Everyone has skills; if you’re lucky those skills somehow apply to the task at hand. Everyone has positive character traits and idiosyncrasies. Getting people to work together takes being respectful and facilitating trust so that our skills are all a means to a productive, rather than discombobulated, end.
I love soccer. That is unremarkable given how many people the world-over are devoted to the “beautiful game.” My path, however, has been less direct than most.
It begins like Mia Hamm, as documented by a photo of my Dad and me “playing” when I was about 3. I learned to walk because I wanted the soccer ball. “Just throw Kim a ball and she’ll chase it,” remarked my sister, years later. When I was older, maybe 8, I remember accompanying my Dad to a few of his games, including one at, gasp, Memorial Stadium, home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team.
Hey, where’s the link to the movie of Kim, barely waist high, giggling while weaving the ball in and around the feet of family members? Where’s the interview with her neighbor, friend, and former teammate Katie crowing about the time the C Street Strikers beat the Back Alley Boys on a last second goal Kim scored on a corner? Continue reading A Round and About Path to Soccer→