Captain Agro’s Pre-tween Soccer School

The following is the tale of Hubs’s brief and bittersweet side career as the soccer coach of eight to ten-year old girls. That’s right, pre-tweens. The age group before the age group that terrifies intelligent adults and drives Disney Channel marketing. The names have not been changed because nobody is innocent.

This year Riley decided that she was a little bored with gymnastics and wanted to try something new. Riley’s BFF plays soccer, so Riley decided that she’d like to give soccer a try too, despite the fact that she and her BFF couldn’t play on the same team. You see, Riley’s birthday is in April, which puts her in the eight-ten age group, while her BFF’s birthday is in August, putting her in a younger category.

You’d never know it by looking at them, but Riley is older by three months. A veritable old lady by comparison. She could break a hip at any moment.

Old lady on the right. As you can see, osteoporosis is already curving her spine.

However, as it turned out, the soccer organization was desperate for coaches, so they offered to put Riley and her BFF on the same team if Hubs agreed to coach.

Now Hubs knows a thing or two about a thing or two; cycling, wrestling, pond hockey, and all manner of combat and law enforcement lie within his areas of expertise. But he knows absolutely bupkis about soccer. He could effectively train an elite squad of pre-tween crime fighting assassins. But he has no idea what to do with a soccer ball, unless of course you tell him to kill someone with it.

Despite his lack of expertise and extra time, Hubs saw coaching as an opportunity to ease our introverted daughter’s entry into the sport by providing her with the security of her BFF. And as an added bonus, he could be a part of Riley’s pre-Olympic sports career. He figured that teaching pre-tween girls was only marginally more intimidating than kicking down the doors of armed criminals, which he considers just a fun way to spend a Monday morning.

Hubs told Riley. She was ecstatic and declared Hubs a hero. He purchased a book on coaching giggly girls. All was right with the world. A rainbow hung over our house every day and unicorns crapped on our front lawn.

Unicorn poop may be rainbow-colored and sprinkled with stars but it will still kill your grass. (image via themarysue)

Then at the first coaches’ meeting, Hubs got his team roster and discovered (gasp!) there was no BFF on the list.


When he brought it to the attention of the powers-that-be he was told that he must have misinterpreted the offer because the organization would never mix such vastly different ages as eight and eight-plus-three-months together on the same team. That was crazy talk! They meant that they would sometimes put two girls of EXACTLY the same age on the same team even if they were friends. Then they told him to have a nice day and enjoy coaching.

“Sir, may I suggest what you can do with your ‘nice day’, sir?”

Hubs was not pleased. He’d been hoodwinked. To his credit, he didn’t pull his weapon and administer a body cavity search at the meeting, but he did come home and draft a lengthy email, which then needed to be edited heavily to delete foul language and implications of violence. Then he tossed and turned all night. For the next three nights. And wore down his molars.

Despite his carefully crafted, non-threatening arguments, the soccer organization refused to put the girls on the same team. In and of itself this would have been frustrating but not disastrous if Hubs had not shared this plan with Riley. But he had.

Have you ever destroyed the dream of an eight-year old girl? It resembles a scene from a Telenovela but in English.

“Sin mi amigo yo me moriré sin duda!” Translation: “without my friend I will surely die!” (image via jahpeaceful666)

Riley decided that soccer was the devil’s sport, run by terrible ogres bent on breaking the hearts of small girls. She requested that the man in charge be flogged or at least arrested for deliberate meanness. I tried but could not sway her opinion and Hubs, who was on-board with the flogging idea, decided that he would not use soccer as an opportunity for the two of them to bond in misery, so he gave the organization the one fingered salute tactfully resigned and we enrolled Riley in swimming class.

And that was it. Hubs’s brief and bittersweet side career as a pre-tween soccer coach was over before it began. Riley will never rip off her soccer jersey to display her sports bra after winning the Olympic gold. We will never have David Beckham or Mia Hamm over for dinner. All we’re left with is a front lawn full of unicorn crap.

The soccer organization had better hope that Hubs doesn’t figure out a way to weaponize unicorn crap.

Rise And Fall Of Super Birther

My mother was a Super Birther.  She was so gifted in this arena that she had me, her third child, in a doctor’s office without pain medication, despite my large head, and took me home buck naked in a medical supply box. (I didn’t say that she was a super planner.)  She could have just as easily popped me out in the grocery store somewhere between aisle seven and produce, picked me up and continued right on to check out. The only thing she was missing was a cape.

Hey, can I borrow your cape? This box is cold.

I always assumed, being like my mother in so many other ways, that when the time came for me to deliver my own child, I would automatically tap into the Collective Female Experience and channel my inherited birthing ability.  As it turned out, when the golden hour arrived, the Collective Female Experience’s server was down and the birthing ability possessed by my mother skipped a generation.  My body, when faced with the task of presenting a child to the world, handled it with the aplomb of an unsupervised crack baby at a Walmart super sale.

I want Star Wars Legos action figures and some candy or I'm going to shoot this baby out your nose!

The first sign that my body wasn’t up to the task at hand occurred when my water broke for no apparent reason other than boredom and general chicanery.  I wasn’t in labor yet. It just had nothing better to do. The rest of my reproductive system took momentary notice and promptly returned to its regularly scheduled programming, refusing to jump on board the birthing bandwagon.

My husband and I obediently went to the hospital anyway, because that’s what you do when you spring a leak. There I spent the next day watching my husband sleep, impending fatherhood having apparently thrown him into a fit of stress-induced narcolepsy. I also talked to various interns who came in periodically to check my non-progress and hold a mirror under my husband’s nose. And occasionally I listened to other women scream–with joy, I assume. What I did not do was dilate.

Narcoleptic Daddy--I love my family most when they're sleeping.

The hospital staff grew impatient with me. I was taking up valuable real estate and my body was showing no sign of ever producing anything but enough amniotic fluid to open my own water park. They began to think that maybe I was planning on gestating for another year, like an elephant.  So to give my body a little nudge they gave me a Pitocin cocktail.

Here I am packing my obstetrician.

Now anyone who has had the pleasure of Pitocin’s acquaintance knows that a “nudge” from Pitocin feels like a sledge-hammer wheeled by a 300 pound bodybuilder in a roid rage. My uterus began contracting with a manic enthusiasm usually reserved for stalkers and young Disney Channel actors. I’m usually fairly stoic about pain but at this point I tried to rip off my husband’s hand and beat him with it.

Your uterus on Pitocin. You can dress it up in a pink bikini but it's still scary.

The new-found fervor of my uterus made my cervix nervous. Still confused about its role as a portal to the world, my cervix felt the need to do something and so in the pressure of the moment went with door number two despite the coaching of the audience. It began to swell shut. The hospital staff shook their heads at my bodily ineptitude. The word “c-section” was mentioned immediately after the words, “whoa” and “what the heck?” My husband, fresh from his marathon nap and not burdened with any useful medical knowledge, remained optimistic, giving an inspired, if not misguided, delivery room pep talk, to which my cervix, in the middle of performing its own medical miracle, responded by giving us all the one-fingered salute and rupturing.

Goodbye natural childbirth.

So apparently I am not a Super Birther. There will be no cape for me. I did, however, earn my own special title, Medical Oddity, which possesses its own merits.

You cannot escape my uterus!

Medical Oddity: Super Birther’s nemesis and arch-villain of the birthing world. Bwa ha ha ha. I wonder if I can get a black latex arch-villain nursing bra.