Considering the fact that your mother is unquestionably unenthusiastic when it comes to all things “sport” related, I have an odd tendency to associate family memories with major sporting events. Your dad and I started dating during UCLA’s basketball glory days, in 2007, as the team advanced to their second consecutive Final Four. The day we got married, excitement was high, both due to our wedding, and the fact that Argentina was set to play Germany in the World Cup final the next morning. And on the most memorable Daylight Savings Day of my life, when the hospital clocks were all off and I had absolutely no sense of time, you were born at 10:37 pm. It was also Selection Sunday 2017. I spent most of those hazy newborn weeks feeding you and half-watching college basketball. To this day, if I hear Coldplay’s Something Just Like This, I almost feel a 6lb baby napping on my chest.
Today was another BIG SPORTS DAY. Here in Oakland, the city was absolutely on fire, overwhelmed with emotion following last night’s NBA Championship Game. I missed the whole thing (you were being…fussy…during bath-time). Everyone was buzzing this morning about Kevin Durant’s devastating injury and the Warrior’s perseverance.
The Warrior’s win wasn’t the only thing firing up Oakland today—the city is experiencing a wild heatwave. Generally, this is the time of year when friend’s ice cream and pool IG posts feel far away, as I pull out another scarf and hope the afternoon sun breaks through the June Gloom.
Not today. The air was completely stiff when I picked you and your friend Siana up from daycare. My air conditioning plan-the library-was foiled when the power went out in Berkeley. We drank icy Motts juice packets on the steps, and cheered with the library staff when the power and AC returned. After flipping through T-Wreck-Asauras, the baby faces book, and pulling down about a million others, it was time to walk home.
At this point, there was a mild breeze. As you held my hand and we pushed Siana in the stroller, I thought, thank you for this, thank you for summer. It really felt like summer, your hands sticky from juice, your curls standing up, that ridiculous 12 Month baseball shirt you insisted on wearing this morning, stuck to your tiny sweaty body.
We walked by two young kids kicking a soccer ball in their front yard. You stopped, mesmerized by your two favorite sights: older kids and a ball. We watched for a long time, until one child got bored and sat on the porch. The other one rolled the ball to you, and your face lit up. You rolled it back, and soon you began kicking and throwing it back and forth.
You were on fire. Giggling, running, thrilled by the attention from this older child, giddy with being a part of this brief game.
Eventually, her mom came outside, it was time for her to go to another activity. Siana’s mom joined us and we thanked the soccer player and her mom profusely, telling them how much her kindness made your day.
A few hours before your soccer game, there was another game. Team USA destroyed Thailand in the Women’s World Cup. From the news alerts I skimmed, it was a big deal. Watching the front yard soccer kicking, the moms noted how sweet the moment was, particularly with USA playing afternoon.
I can’t blame my lack of sports interest on historic sexism against women athletes. I’ve just never been interested. Still, it is not lost on me that women’s sports get far less attention, far less money, far less everything than men’s sports. It seems, from my very minimal knowledge, the tide is changing, very slowly, very incrementally. And seeing you watch the neighbor play soccer tonight, with total admiration, total awe, made me excited for the future. How lucky are we, how lucky am I, to raise a son during a time when his sports heroes can be men and women? Both in the celebrity and neighbor form?
Since I didn’t watch it, I don’t expect to remember USA’s 13-0 victory of Thailand in the 2019 World Cup. But I hope I remember this hot summer afternoon. I hope I remember your delight, the budding soccer player’s generosity toward you, the simple scene of an orange ball on the front lawn, while three moms watched on with pride. I hope I remember this.
This post was written as part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to read the next post in this series “Remember This.”