I didn't grow up playing team sports. It's another post for another day, but running sort of found me later in my life, and I'm so glad it did. But I have 3 active boys, and sports is now a big part of my life as I attend practices and games of whatever season we happen to be in.Our family rule is each kid gets to pick one sport per season. (We have a certain unnamed oldest child who would sign up for soccer, swim team, archery club, running club, and baseball all at the same time if we'd let him). We are trying to go ahead and set up some workable parameters for our family since right now it's only 2 of the 3 who are old enough to play sports. (This one'sgetting ready for his turn!) The day is coming when our man-to-man strategy will give way to a zone defense of carpooling to said practices and games. It's crazy enough trying to manage one activity per kid.
So this season, both kids picked soccer. I will admit that soccer is not a sport that I knew much about prior to being a mom of boys. I did understand that each team would like for the ball to go into the goal that scores them a point. That was the end of my soccer understanding. Oh, and the "can't use your hands" rule. I did know that one.
So our seasons of soccer have gradually sent me to soccer school, where I now think I could explain "off sides," and I can also now encourage defenders to kick the ball "down the line" and not to the middle. Big strides, I'd say.
Honestly though, if I had the choice, I would not watch soccer on tv. I really need a little more scoring to stay interested. BUT this works well for me out on the local soccer field cheering on players who are in the 6-10 year-old range. Why? Because the ball actually goes in the goal! Several times! The score lines read more like baseball-type finals. Very little of this 1-0 business the Pros throw at us.
Also, I can't think of a sport where you are literally closer to the action. You pull your camping chair RIGHT UP to the line and can smell the sweaty sweetness of the players as they run. It does require close attention (have to put the phone down!) because the ball will likely hurtle in the direction of your head at some point (all part of the excitement!). You can see your kid's face as they play, and sometimes they can actually hear your words of encouragement and smile back at you with no fence in between.
I did watch the US Women's World Cup final game this year, and I will admit it was a thrilling match to witness. But you ask most any devoted soccer fan, and they'll tell you that game was special. Unusual even. For me, I'll just keep my 1st and 4th graders' games. I may be a little partial, but there's way more to cheer for on those fields.
I bet your kids' activities have taught you some stuff, too--leave a comment to tell us what you've learned!