My kids both play soccer, so our Saturdays are spent driving
from pillar to post and cheering from the sidelines.
I'm a huge fan. I love cheering them on (Let's go 'Panthers!' Go
Go Goal Rush!) and hanging out with the other parents. I also
enjoy giggling about how sweet the kids were just a couple of years
ago when they were too shy to steal the ball from each other. Good
times. Not so much during torrential downpours, but soccer is a
Unless, of course, it's your turn to bring the half-time snack
and you drop the ball.
Yes, it happened to me.
Last spring I realized my mistake just ten minutes before
half-time at one of Holly's games, so my son Noah and I ran to the
car (and folks, I generally don't run unless someone's on fire) and
I drove as quickly as the law allows (more or less) to the nearest
store. Trouble was, the nearest store was a few miles away. Like I
often do when faced with lousy odds, I hummed the theme song to
Mission-Impossible, determined to make a triumphant return to the
game, snack in hand, and protect Holly from any
Things were not looking good. I worried she would hate
We ran into the store. The produce section loomed large, but the
bananas were too green and I didn't have the means to wash or cut
the other fruit. I sprinted around the store as Noah shouted
"Snickers! Doritos! Cookies!" he yelled in vain, as I scowled
and scanned the store for something at least semi-nutritious that
would energize the girls for their second half.
With no time to waste, we returned to the produce section and
settled on the individual packages of pre-washed apple slices with
caramel dip. Trouble was, they were sold in six-packs. In order to
purchase enough for the whole team - and not exclude the little
siblings that would naturally want one too - I had to buy several
packs. I forget the exact price but seem to recall paying $24.00
for the lot of them, a tad excessive for a half-time snack.
Then I threw in juice boxes, hoping this unnecessary bonus would
help everyone forget our oversight.
But it was too late. By the time we returned, half-time was
nearly over and another mom - who just happened to have a handy bag
of orange slices - was making the rounds, doing what I was supposed
to be doing.
I was mortified. Breathless and perturbed, but grateful the
girls had something, I collapsed in my chair and saved my
uber-expensive snack for the girls to enjoy after the
I'm guess I'm a snack slacker. In fact, my kids are lucky if
they have matching socks come game time.
I'm probably on some blacklist of 'un' soccer moms by
So this spring, when Holly's coach sent out an e-mail asking who
wanted to bring the snack to the next game, I immediately
"Me me me me!" I felt like shouting, desperate for
Someone else beat me to it, though.
He brought beautiful fruit and a drink. The girls all had their
water bottles with them, but appreciated the extra juice.
But then he passed out more stuff after the game.
"Oh criminy." I thought, squinching my eyes shut. "He's setting
the bar really high for the rest of us," I whispered to my
husband. I can't recall what the post-game snacks were,
exactly. I blocked it out. I think each player got a yummy pack of
Oreos and something else. All I remember is the cheering.
That's when I knew I was sunk.
"Sorry guys, I can't compete," I said to my kids in the car on
the way to Noah's game. "Don't get your hopes up," I added, as they
enjoyed their post-game treats.
See, I was thinking I'd bring a few bunches of bananas for the
half-time snack when my turn came around this year.
Better yet, raisins.
"Mom!" Holly shouted, when I suggested raisins.
"Okay, so I'll bring bananas too in case someone doesn't like
the raisins," I tried, as I parked the car at Noah's game and we
hauled the folding chairs out of the trunk for round two. Holly
groaned and walked away. I'm pretty sure I heard her mutter
Please don't misunderstand. If you know me you know that I'm not
one of those parents who harbor moral objections to sugary snacks.
I just had a different game plan.
I may need to rethink my strategy, but one thing I am sure of?
This time I won't forget.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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