At the moment.
By that, I mean that my children (aged 3, 6, and 9) are not currently involved in a soccer league or camp. In fact, they are in no organized sports whatsoever.
I’m surprisingly OK with that.
I have nothing against soccer. I played it regularly for the first dozen years of my life and I played other organized sports for the next 10 years. My best friend plays soccer professionally. When we were kids, her family immersed me in World Cup fever. I am a Ted Lasso fan of the highest order.
It’s a fantastic game. That’s not why we don’t belong to a league.
Before the pandemic hit, we did all the things: soccer, Boy Scouts, dance, basketball, swimming, etc. We had amazing coaches who volunteered their time to guide our children. My husband led a team for a season and met some delightful kids and their parents. Saturdays were booked for months on end. It was great.
I started to resent the fact that much of our family’s time was defined by practices, games, and try-out schedules before the kids were even seven years old. Then there were the costs of joining and buying the relevant stuff, despite the many wonderful ways parents devised to pass on gently used equipment.
When most things shut down in 2020, we un-enrolled. We lost track of sign-up days. Cleats and shin guards and other equipment became too small. And lost.
It was one of the few things during the pandemic that we didn’t much miss.
We had oodles of unstructured time. Some nights, we played board games. Others, we watched movies. Some nights, we all yelled at each other because nobody wanted to do the same thing. Some nights, we played soccer. Some nights, we did nothing.
We got bored on occasion. It was lovely.
As things opened back up, we didn’t jump at the chance to return. It was hard to give up the freedom and availability to pursue other interests. We were in no hurry to go back.
With each season that starts, we revisit the decision and continue to resist. If any of our kids asked even once to sign up, we’d be in. For now, we’re enjoying a slower pace.
I have no doubt we will eventually get back to organized sports. When we do, our kids will probably be behind in skills and dug-out chants, but maybe it’s worth it. Maybe it’s not. Like many parenting decisions, it’s unknown.
There’s nothing wrong with playing organized sports. The benefits are endless. There’s also nothing wrong with not playing organized sports.
So despite the minivan, three kids, and a cat, I am technically NOT a soccer mom. For now. Maybe next season will be different.