Sunday, April 3, 2011

Soccer Mom

You learn things about yourself in a new culture that you wouldn't necessarily notice back in your old one.

The next generation: Matthew, Callum and Aidan

I am the only one who remembers to sign in at the weekly women's group I have been going to recently.  Today they laughed.  "Oh, Christine, how do you remember to do it?"

Remember?  How could you FORGET?  I had to admit that it didn't even occur to me to NOT sign in.  We Germans are a pretty bureaucratic bunch.  You punch in, you follow the rules.

It had never occurred to me that I had become so methodical.

Like the 10 step list I sent to our school principal, Tracy, distinctly outlining the rules for buying lunch bags with your meals at the Tuck Shop.  She condensed it into a nice two lines gently reminding people to include an extra 5 cents with the meal price. 

Aussies are pretty relaxed.  I love it but I'm still coming down off the German rules.

And here I thought I had avoided being sucked in by them all the time I was there!  It's insidous.  I can only hope the Aussie mentality creeps into my subconscious in the same way.

Andrew in goal.  Again.

Andrew began soccer season a few weeks ago too.  I tried telling the coach, a good friend of ours, that I really just wanted him to enjoy the game, learn a few positions outside of goal-keeper, and have a good time with new friends.  Our friend, whose daughter plays goalie for the 12 and unders and who has seen Andrew play, promptly stuck him in goal and asked the scout for the traveling team to take a look at him. 

"I need that kid for goal-keeper" the scout said to my friend, unaware that I was the mother.

Two keepers using their feet!

Did my heart swell with pride?  Of course it did.  On the other hand, I was grieving that he had never had a chance to become a high-scoring forward.  (Watching him play though, where he preferably played defense even in the field, and was actually unintentionally in the goalie's way, subconsciously playing goal even when he wasn't officially in the position, I had to admit that Andrew was a defense guy.)

And even worse, a goalie.

"Sorry about that" said my friend.  "It's alright," I replied.  "As long as Andrew likes playing goal and you think he belongs there.  HE doesn't get stressed playing goal.   I get stressed watching it."

Andrew warms up for goal.

"Don't worry" my friend reassured me "we work with them carefully in practice so that they know how not to get hurt in a game."

Get hurt in a game?  GET HURT IN A GAME?  I had to admit that the thought had never occured to me.  "I'm worried about him letting a ball THROUGH,"  I sheepishly admitted,  "not about him diving after it and getting kicked in the face."

Which I believe was the most competitive thing my friend had ever heard from a soccer mom!

Me?  ME?  I want to save the world, I want everyone to work together, I want us all to live together, peacefully, as members of one great, all-encompassing human-kind.

Now it occurs to me that maybe I just want us all to be equal so that I won't be last.  A 1:1 tie means nobody wins, but it also means that nobody loses!

"Whose that little guy playing keeper?"  I heard this Saturday.  "I don't know, but I heard they found a really excellent kid."  I introduced myself immediately so the parents wouldn't be embarrassed by any remarks made in my presence later.  "Yeah, that's my kid Andrew.  I keep telling everyone he's too short to play goal, but they insist he's alright."  The fact that he finally lost 3 teeth last week - making him look like a 6 year old - didn't help his intimidation factor.   My guess is they look at his dad, and count on a growth spurt in a few years to bring him up to keeper height.

But, after several dives and saves, including one where he raced the offensive player down the goal line and threw himself on the ball as the kid kicked him in the ribs, we all had to admit he belonged in goal.  I got to cheer for the two forwards - one of whom is a girl - and the entire team played well. 

The little guy in goal.  With team support this time around.  (Don't they all look HUGE?!)

It was way more fun than his team in Altdorf who didn't listen, didn't pass, didn't follow positions, and left it a game of Andrew as goalie versus dozens of shots by the opposing team.

He did get a LOT of practice, but it was painful to watch.

Here, the mums and dads pulled up chairs and cheered.  There they resented being there and pulled out a paper.  And Andrew told me later that the kid who (unintentionally) kicked him in the ribs actually helped him up and told him "good save" after apologizing for the kick.  (He WAS going for the ball and Andrew was on top of it!  GO Andrew!  We can fix your teeth later!)

It makes you wonder if that 2:1 Australia win over Germany last week was more than a fluke.  (It DID break my heart; I LOVE my boys!)  The attitude - team spirit, cooperation, working together - in Australia is so much healthier than the competitive, every-man-for-himself attitude fostered in Germany. 

And it makes me question myself yet again.  Do I want Andrew to play for Germany?  Or am I rooting for the Aussies to move up into the final three?  (Let's face it, the USA is just happy to get there at all!)

Still Deutschland and proud. Matthew.

I don't hate Germany.  I love her.  I am so disappointed in her because I do love her.  Do I want 'MY BOYS' to win?   Yeah, I do.  I want Germans to have the same love of life, the same joy of living, the same happiness to think of and help others, that Australians take for granted.  Let the Germans win at soccer, for crying out loud.  The Aussies have everything else.

Forgive me.  I am methodical, pedantic, competitive....and German.  I am so critical of Germany because I AM German, and because I know that if I can change, then so can anyone.  They CAN do better, because I can do better.

Aidan with Deutschland shirt, American baseball hat and South African ball.  In Australia.

All of which I never would have known if I didn't come to Australia!

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