Gaining respect for soccer

I’m gaining some more respect for soccer. Soccer is sort of like golf, either you understand it and love it, or you just simply change the channel.

This summer, my 4-year-old took golf lessons and now he’s really into soccer. He wants to wear one of his soccer shirts every day (“Sorry, you can’t, they’re in the wash” doesn’t cut it.) and play soccer this fall.

We’re in the process of signing him up. My wife found him some shoes and recently my son and I ventured out to get shin guards and a ball.

Real soccer is still new to me. But I get it. See ball. Kick ball. See ball. Kick ball. (Repeat 100 times). See ball. See goal. Kick ball. Goooooooaaaaaaaaaal! And I remember being in an airport several years ago watching the replay (we had to run to figure out all the commotion) when Brandi Chastain made most men forget about the NFL and pro wrestling for a few days.

My son isn’t too far away from the age when I played soccer. Growing up, our clothesline poles were shaped like goals about 25 feet apart and they were perfect “nets” for one-on-one games against the neighborhood kids. Obviously we had a height restriction and tipped shots off the clotheslines were always in play.

Without organized soccer growing up, that was it. So when we were finding equipment for my son, it was a bit more than I bargained for. I debated for a few minutes on whether or not we should get the all-in-one sock/shin guard or separates. I’m an equipment freak and to get what I thought was the real deal (separates) was the way to go. Then after having a salesperson help us out getting a shin guard of correct size, deciding on socks was another story.

Some socks were large enough to fit Ronald McDonald, and those were the small size. I had to laugh at the fact that I was so out of my element. We eventually found socks that he liked and didn’t have to peel back too far. (“Cool, he can wear these until he’s 15,” I thought.) And one size 3 ball later, we were out the door.

We barely got a quarter mile from the store when I see him in my rear-view mirror tugging on a sock with a shin guard already in place.

By the time we arrived home, he was ready to play in the World Cup.

Now I just half to brush up on what all those referee’s cards mean.