Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bend it like Beckham

Every summer there is one quintessential moment when you sigh deeply and say to yourself "this is what summer is all about." We had our moment last night when the family went to a New England Revolution game. Some would say that our family is obsessed with soccer. We all play, each parent coaches, and we have been known to watch games on cable in the wee hours of the morning. We picked up a friend who plays on my son's team and headed out. I was anticipating seeing the Revs and the LA Galaxy and we would be seeing David Beckham and Landon Donovan play. As we walked into the stadium, the boys were excited:

"Hey, did you bring a marker and paper so we can get autographs?"

"No, but that's OK, they can just sign the back of our shirts."

"Did you bring a marker?"

"NO....when we go to England to see the Premier League play, we need to remember the marker"

Our youngest was a bit apprehensive about the size of the venue and the noise walking in but somehow the wildly painted fans beating bass drums and shouting "You suck" every time the opposing goalie cleared the ball settled her right down. "Mom, what are they saying?" This led to a teachable moment about sportsmanship, disconnecting behaviors, and respect for good play on the opposing team. "Yeah, but what are they saying?"

Our seats were great and the first goal of the game by Donovan was a beautiful thing. The boys were transfixed. Then the talk turned to David Beckham. He plays under duress amazing well. Because he is the most well known soccer player in this country, he draws a lot of attention. Most of the insulting comments by the fans were directed at him. The boys think he is old (at 34) and my husband agrees. Granted, his passes were very efficient but they were spot on every single time. Maybe his best years are behind him but I'm grateful that his presence on an MLS team has raised American consciousness about this graceful and global sport. We have a new generation in this country who have no idea that Americans are supposed to take a backseat to European players. Game on! (as my friend Maribeth says) So, if you want to catch a recap of the game, visit I am grateful to all the players, especially the old guys, for providing my family with our perfect summer moment.

As we were leaving the stadium, my son pointed to the small practice field beside the stadium and asked "Is that where the Patriots play?"

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