My seven-year-old is playing community soccer for the first time this year. Her team is sponsored by the Friendly Son’s of St. Patrick. I both love and cringe at the apostrophe error on the back of her uniform. With her blue eyes and freckles, she certainly has the map of Ireland on her face much more than I do and that makes her very cute indeed in that dark green jersey.
So, last night, I sat on the aluminum bleachers and watched her first practice. Two men, looking like extras from central casting for “Jersey dad/Sopranos extra” called out “Hey, kick the ball at the goal!” to their son, and I began to fear a season of coaching from the sidelines. (It’s actually decent advice, of course, and not very aggressive, but I am a timid mommy when it comes to sports.) Still stereotyping all these strangers, I glanced at the Patagonia-clad, athletic-professional dad for support, but he didn’t look at me. A few minutes later, his beautiful daughter came to him in tears. She had been hit in the face with a ball. He gave her a sip of water and a hug and then, confirming she was o.k., sent her back on the field, “all right now, go out there and kick someone else in the face.”
Jersey is as Jersey does.