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Tales from the Motherhood: Welcoming World Cup soccer into living room, life

Soccer, the viewing and playing of which is enjoyed by millions, seems to quite stealthily have invaded my life – and not just my checkbook at registration time. For instance, take the men’s World Cup. In my house, it’s inspired the expression of some pretty amazing sounds, some of which I’ve never before heard uttered by my firstborn. I’ll be doing dishes in the kitchen, or otherwise occupied in some other area of my little house – or puttering outside, for that matter – and suddenly be startled by a primal utterance the likes of which I’m hard-pressed to put into words.

Most amusing, when I’m not holding heavy, soapy things.

If I’m honest, though, a few of those sounds have come out of my own mouth, too. I mean, did you see that last U.S. game, Tuesday afternoon? Did you?

It was kind of a sleeper there, for a while (I even ran out to pick up dinner, at one point), but when a 0-0 tie forced the game into extra time and points finally were scored, yup, I was shrieking and gasping right along with Noah and Holly.

That American goalie, Tim Howard, what a beast! If you follow soccer at all you know that while the Americans are a terrific team, in this game he pretty much single-handedly (or double, as it were) prevented a total massacre at the hands of the Belgians with his crazy-capable goal-tending.

Though the Americans finally lost the match, 2-1, Noah tells me that in this game, Howard made the most saves in a single match in recorded World Cup history. What. A. Beast!

Needless to say, noisy or not, in my house, it’s generally understood that any “regular programming” has taken a backseat to the World Cup.

But it’s not just the noise. No, soccer has invaded my life in other ways, too, and I’m not just talking about the broken windows from my kids’ errant balls. I’ve actually gotten a taste of what it means to be on the receiving end of a good offense, myself.  (This no longer refers to playing soccer with my kids in the backyard, because, these days, bad things happen when I run – and besides, it’s no fun for me anymore, since they’ve both grown so shockingly tall that I can no longer pick them up to swing them away from the ball.)

I’m referring, instead, to what happened this “season,” after my daughter lobbied for a new bathing suit and the trek from store to store commenced.

It finally dawned on me, a few days in, that she’d developed a fairly effective technique for shuffling me out of one store – when she was ready to continue her quest but I’d paused to linger over something that’d caught my eye – and into another.

She’d ever-so-subtly begun doing this “bodying” thing, where one soccer player kinda leans into another to sort of shuffle her out of the way so she can get to the ball first. I laughed out loud when it happened again at Old Navy a few weeks ago.

Seems my sweet, and some would say shy, girl, Holly, can really hold her own – on the field and off, and with her old Mom in a clothing store.

I recall how awkward it felt for her and her teammates, just a short few years ago, when they were first encouraged to try this on the soccer field.

But note to Coach Alex, I’m thinking she’s got it down! She bodies-up to me and herds me out the door, and before I even know what’s happening, my key is in the ignition. Ha!

Seems soccer’s here to stay, in one way or another.

As for the noise, our pets, quite preferring a more serene existence, eagerly await the end of this World Cup. But the women play theirs, next year. Bring it on! Best get the poor dears some earplugs.

• Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her husband, Todd, and their two children, Noah and Holly. Contact her at

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