I was in ballet - my mom said I was the little strawberry on stage that turned right while the rest of class turned left.
I was in tap and jazz - both provided me with super cool costumes, but neither helped me find my rhythm.
I did gymnastics - I could bend and flip and whip around the uneven bars, but for the life of me I couldn't stay on the balance beam.
Finally I found soccer. It was rough and tumble. I had a good set of lungs, tightly tied cleats and zero fear (for a pipsqueak). I charged the opposite team with fury. I had scabbed knees and grass stained shorts. I went through many pairs of cleats, a boat load of mouth guards and more than a few sets of shin guards. I played on a coed team and had no fear of the bigger, faster, more aggressive boys. BRING IT ON - at least that's how I felt until during one particularly tough game I fell a bit awkwardly. When I got up I knew I was hurt, but I also knew I wanted my team to win the darn game - so I played on. I don't know when my coach realized that my arm was at an odd angle, but I know I was pulled from the game and sent to the hospital. Turns out I had a dislocated elbow (that I decided to relocate myself while my mom arranged for transportation home for my brother). Also turns out that relocating your own elbow is not a wise choice and I was rewarded with a sling for several weeks.
I don't know how many seasons I played soccer, but I remember knowing that I was not cut out for the cutthroat world of high school soccer. At the start of freshman year I hung up my cleats and laced up my cross country running shoes and never looked back (that sport rewarded me with a bum knee - really athleticism is NOT my thing).
Anybody who knows Andy knows he has a love of soccer. He'll set his alarm for the wee hours of the morning to catch a Liverpool game. In 2006 he went to the World Cup in Germany and in 2010 he took more than a few personal days to soak up World Cup soccer on the TV. When we got HD cable early this summer he was most excited to finally have access to the soccer channels. He's in a fantasy soccer league (because it's just not enough to be in a fantasy baseball and fantasy football league). He has a plethora of soccer jerseys, we have canvasses of Liverpool players on our basement walls, and give him enough beers and he'll sling his arm around you and teach you the lyrics to "You"ll Never Walk Alone".
Andy also played soccer - he was the goalie. The guy who throws himself at unnatural angles in front of a ball moving incredibly fast. The guy who dives head first on a ball that is being attacked by very sharp cleats. The guy who has to be willing to live with bruises everywhere - only in Andy's case, instead of a bruise he was rewarded with a broken leg, and shortly thereafter most of his soccer playing days ceased.
The point to all these hazy memories?
Yesterday evening Addie and Andy took a daddy/daughter trip to Dick's Sporting Goods. After spending a few afternoons kicking around her princess ball it was decided that it was time for her to get a real soccer ball.
Rumor has it, she beelined for the solid hot pink ball, but was more than pleased with the white, black, and light pink ball Andy picked out.
When they got back from the store Addie rushed to get ready for her first soccer lesson. Don't you think for a minute that to play soccer you must sacrifice fashion or the ability to twirl. She bounded downstairs in her yellow athletic skirt, bright pink tank top and fancy princess sneakers ready to rumble.
As they kicked around in the backyard I spied with my camera and laughed. What a perfect way to kick off the week...
*When he got home tonight Andy informed me that I took too much literary license with his part of the soccer tale. I stand corrected - Andy broke his leg in 5th grade, not 9th as I had thought. It was broken the one year he did not play goalie. He also contends that he would never teach YNWA lyrics in a drunken stupor (I'm a bit skeptical of his last claim).