A Wistful Ode to Rubber Pellet Season

This may be our last spring soccer season at the Parade Ground. My girls are old enough that I still think of it as mud season, when the Parade Ground was either a rock hard pitted dust bowl or a quagmire free of grass, except for the occasional goal blocking island of weeds. But now we stand on the flat, wide green plastic expanse looking vainly for our team, "Did they say field #11 or #7?" Scanning for parents that are good for an hour long gossip and alternately trying for a spot of sunlight to warm ourselves or a foot of shade to cool ourselves. We have spent the afternoons engrossed in talk of Bat Mitzvahs and Middle School applications, lessons on how to hack into our kid's Facebook and trading SHSAT tutor stories. I remember the season they all got their periods and we all went through menopause. Remember when they could tell an opponent was too old by her eye makeup. When did they all start using black eyeliner? I will miss their coach, with the patience of a saint, trying to get them to stop texting each other long enough to explain how to stop a ball with their chest. That was never going to happen. We didn't mind the losing seasons as long as they checked to see if the injured opponent was okay while the other team scored. They never understood that you couldn't argue with the ref. The righteous indignation of a teenage girl could talk the yellow right off the card.

I will never forget the twilight. They didn't grow up on a suburban deadend street where it is safe to stay out until you heard your mom yell. Standing in the dark listening to my girls play long after they could see the ball. They laughed and ran in the dark. Rubber pellets in the car.