Yesterday was an amazing day. Memorable. Earth-shattering. The first of it’s kind. I’m still trying to come down out of the nethersphere of delight and actually walk on earth. I went to the Princess’ class to get something from the teacher. Two little boys came up to me and asked, (with bated breath), “Are you Zion’s mum?”
“Did you used to play soccer goalie?” Is this a trick question? The one that leads to jeering laughter and screaming taunts?
“Umm, yes I did.”
Their eyes lit up. Their faces were aglow. “Wow! That’s sooo cool. That’s why Zion’s such a great goalkeeper. She told us you used to be one. She’s the best goalie we’ve ever seen.”
And then they turned to chatter excitedly with their friends. “See, thats Zion’s mum the goal-keeper! She doesnt even look like a mum. My mum never played soccer like that..Awesome. Zion’s so lucky.”
I was walking on cotton candy clouds of bliss and self-wonder. Yeah, thats right. My daughter is a kick-butt goal-keeper and she got her skills from me. Cause I rocked. Yeah, totally. Uh huh. Thats me. Lani the Superb, Supremely Super Soccer Goal-keeper. You know it. I walked out of that classroom with a soccer girl swagger…several inches taller, maybe thirty pounds lighter, and with waaaaay more muscle tone than when I walked in there. And there was theme music playing on my mental stereo. The FIFA World cup song, ‘Give me freedom , give me fire, give you reason to take you higher…See the champion…I will be stronger, just like a waving flag…‘
Why so high? If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you will know that I have the great
mis -fortune to be married to a natural born elite athlete. The Hot Man is a runner extraordinaire, the current Samoan marathon record holder. But that’s not all. He can do any sport that takes his fancy and be disgustingly good at it. Without even trying. He set national high school records for the high jump. He’s got trophies for professional boxing. And titles for MuayThai. And medals for that body-building phase he went through. And whenever our children display any athletic talent – it’s definitely because they ‘got it from their Dad.’
Whereas I…skipped PhysEd class all the time to hang out in the library. Was the last person picked for any team anywhere on that rock called Samoa AND in the Land of the Long White Cloud called NZ and on the North American continent. And the one time I did play a team sport? Junior Varsity soccer in high school? I was that goalkeeper who caught the ball. Then stumbled, took two steps backwards, and fell into my own goal. With the ball. Score for the opposing team. Ouch. My family never came back to watch any of my games. Ever. Even though I did get much better at it. And I was eventually selected for the district league team. And I’m not lying, dammnit! (My little brother still doesnt believe me. But what does he know? He NEVER came back to watch me play again.)
But I have told my goal-keeping triumph story to my children. As inspiration for them.As evidence that even though a person can really be dreadful at something. (Throw the ball to the other team in netball. Fall on their face in hockey. Come last in the 100m. Bounce the ball with two hands in basketball. Run away from the ball in softball because they’re scared of it. And so on…) They can still keep trying, work hard and get better. And even if they dont get better? Life will carry on. And they will find something else that they can kick-butt in.
In the meantime, I’m elated to report to you – that I am a minor soccer legend in my daughter’s Yr 5 class. And I’m going to dust off my soccer boots. And hand them over to the 9yr old who could one day be the first Samoan soccer goal-keeper on an Olympic team. And I will tell everyone, “Yep, that poetry in motion goalie skill right there? She got that from me.”
Finally it’s a score for the Hot Mum.
Hope Solo – World’s greatest female soccer goalie. Im sure this is exactly what I looked like when I walked out of the Princess’ classroom.