Have you ever noticed the sounds of a soccer game?

          I have never played a single minute of soccer.  I grew up in South Mississippi.  In the 1960’s we didn’t do soccer.

          I’d bet we didn’t have a soccer ball in the county.  We had footballs, we had big red dodge balls, we had baseballs and basketballs,   We had golf balls and tennis balls, but I don’t think there were any multi-colored soccer balls unless someone from up north brought one down.

          We didn’t know what we were missing.

          Then again, we wouldn’t have known what to do with a soccer ball.

          Our five year old son played in the first soccer game I ever saw. We had to borrow a pair of shin guards.  I didn’t know they were required.

          Now, it’s 42 years later. 

I’ve been to a thousand soccer games.  I have bought a hundred soccer balls.   Where did they go?

We’ve bought soccer cleats, soccer shorts, soccer socks.  I  went to soccer school.  I coached soccer for several years.  I love the game.  Although I still don’t completely understand being off sides.  

Now, my grand-daughters play soccer.

          Last week, I was back out on the soccer fields, watching the soccer Moms, the soccer Dads and the soccer Kids play.

          I enjoyed listening to the sounds of a soccer field.

          It is music to my ears.

          Every soccer field has one or two three or four year old kids  playing with a ball half his or her size.  Sometimes the Dad is there, down on his knees, rolling a ball to the three year old.  Or Mama’s tying a shoelace that’s gonna come undone again and again.

          Every soccer field has those girls who turn cartwheels.

          Every soccer field has the junior high kid playing hacky sack with a soccer ball or shooting for goals against an empty net.

          Every soccer field has a high school kid, working as a referee.  He doesn’t understand off sides either, but he’s trying.

          Every soccer game has that one parent who only knows one kid’s name.  Yep, you guessed it.  That kid is supposed to be captain, lead scorer, best defender and fastest, most accurate kid on the field.  The others kids don’t count. 

          Listen for it. You can hear that parent when you’re two soccer fields away.

          The kids high five one another when there’s a score.  They huddle together when one is hurt.

          Then there are the kids talking to one another.  You just have to watch this. Yes, they talk. There’s school talk, girl talk and boy talk.  I’m not going to open that can of worms.  Five hundred or so words aren’t enough.

          I like hearing the soccer Moms huddle together and talk about their kids, teachers at school and every once in a while a wayward husband or friend. 

          Yep, if you listen, they talk.

          And then there’s the grandparents.  I’m one of them.  We’re the greatest.  We bring Snickers Bars and M&Ms.  We’re the ones with the thermos of hot chocolate and an extra blanket on cool nights.  We’re the ones who make it a point to talk with our grandchildren when they come off the field.  We hug them, win, lose or draw.

          And, after the games are over, there’s that silence you find only on the soccer.  If you’ve been there, you know it.

           I like listening to the sounds out on a soccer field. 

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