Grinding Down Memory Lane

It was best to get a running start. Push the yellow faux-motorcycle handles until the fixed blue pedals on the big front wheel were moving just quickly enough that you could jump on, get your feet on them, push your butt against the yellow seat back, and crank even faster. Then, careen at full speed down the driveway. Half way down, force your feet against the turning pedals and pull the brake handle against the right back wheel so that you skid hard left and come to a rest in the two feet of cement before the asphalt of the street, ending up parallel to the road, or even with your back facing it, having made a 180. Though it was really just a molded plastic, low-riding tricycle, our Big Wheels felt like a machine built for speed, even on the flats. Continue reading Grinding Down Memory Lane

What’s the ruling?

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.

WWC1999_mini_ball
Each panel of the mini-ball featured a U.S. host city. Note the Statue of Liberty.

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?

It is what it is

“Heyyy! Hey Maria!”

The two Marias
Maria (left), well-dressed on the field, and off.

I wove through a gaggle of 10 year old girls, trying to get their coach’s attention. Like them, her long hair was tied back in a pony tail. Her running shoes, form-fitting athletic pants, and sporty v-neck were diametrically opposed to my grubby sneakers, baggy shorts, and loose, untucked t-shirt, her ordinary straight woman’s presence a contrast to my bold lack of femininity.

I beckoned Maria away from her team. We didn’t know one another well, but my partner Susan had ovarian cancer and so did one of her best friends. Before I could run my boy’s practice, I needed to calm my mangled emotions and thought she could help. Biting my lip, I told her, Continue reading It is what it is