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.
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.
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.
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.
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.