Patrick's (co-ed, rec league, very low key and surprisingly - to him - enjoyable) soccer team had their last practice tonight and the coach sent an email asking everyone to bring a parent with them for a team v parents scrimmage.
I forwarded this to Steve who forwarded it back to me. I forwarded it again; and again it returned.
Apparently when one watches eleventy billion hours of football and refuses on the unimpeachable grounds of Euro Qualifying Weekend to drive to Wisconsin this Saturday to join friends who are throwing some big springtime pumpkin dance hoedown, one becomes the de facto sacrifice when a parent is expected to participate in a scrimmage.
I struggled at first, asking Steve why we had spent so much money fixing all his knee meniscus if he wasn't even going to use it; and pointing out that his inability to raise his arms after the shoulder surgeries is actually an advantage since he is less likely to get a hand ball.
But eventually I embraced the inevitable, sighed and rummaged through the drawer where I keep bathing suits and jogging bras and other things I don't need that often, like the betamax, looking for something to wear.
Patrick blinked and said, "Wow. I have never seen you in pants that... tight."
I fled back into the bedroom and removed the exercise shorts, then re-emerged wearing something that might be yoga pants or might possibly be pajama bottoms. Then I put my hair into a business-like ponytail and found my sneakers.
"Alright," I said grimly, "this is an act of love that you will appreciate for the rest of your life. Also, anyone who kicks me in my unguarded shins will get slapped within an inch of their lives regardless of age, sex or familial relationship to myself."
We got to the field ten minutes late (hey, I had to change) and as we walked up a kid came running over yelling, "Are you playing? Are you playing?"
I said, "Who, me? Um, yes?" and thought "Can't you tell I came to play? Do you not see that I am wearing trousers suitable for the playing of the soccer?"
He called over, "They have eight! We can play one more! The parents have eight!"
Which is when I glanced onto the field and saw the rest of my team: Coach Futbal, Ultramarathoner One, US Navy T-Shirt Guy, Ultramarathoner Two, Assistant Coach Soccer, Eight Foot Tall Goalie and the Wiry Canadian Man. I felt like the token non-athletic girl - for obvious reasons - and without even asking where they wanted me I went to the token non-athletic girl position: left defensive back; which eventually merged into left right center back because the rest of my team was too busy racing around scoring to bother defending the goal, which was more or less completely blocked anyway by the Eight Foot Tall Goalie's body.
The game started and I prepared myself to feel like a fool but actually it was really fun. Truly. It helped that the kids would come down and hesitate because, yikes, it's someone's mom, I can't, you know, kick at her or anything... and in that moment's hesitation I would slam into them and steal the ball.
"Areyouokaysorry" became my trademark field call.
I got four headers and only fell down once; an unfortunate incident I blame on my lack of cleats but which might lead to awkward questions at my next slumber party: how did you get that grass stain on the knee of your pajamas?
PS It really was terrific but full disclosure two hours later: Steve just had to come into the living room to cross my legs for me and I am typing with my face.