This past weekend, the kids were busy. Saturday morning started early with a track meet for the Boy at 8am at a high school about 30 minutes away. Dad took the Boy, CB and Baby T with him while I took the "big girls" and N with me to have their First Communion pictures taken. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day out so no one's hair or dresses were ruined by wind or rain! Fortunately, my always thinking ahead friend, D, had her digital camera with her and she snapped a few photos of the girls outside in the beautiful weather! I'll be sure to post some when I can. When pictures were taken, I headed into the Ladies' room with the girls to transform them from angelic little ladies to world class soccer stars! It took about 5 minutes. Dresses came off, cleats and shin guards replaced tights and white heeled sandals, and the fussed-over hair of early morning was pulled up into pony tail holders and stretchy headbands. We arrived at the track meet just in time to see the Boy throwing the disc; with one of his throws just fractions of an inch away from 70 feet, it was well worth seeing. After track, we headed home for lunch and to lay the three little ones down for afternoon naps.
Once they were settled in, we loaded up again and drove down the street to the girls' soccer game. The refs don't keep score in the rec soccer league they play in, but as the girls are all of counting age, they do it themselves. It never ceases to amaze me when I see our Ethiopian daughter, H, fully engaged in such American rites of passage as park district youth soccer. (Now, I know they play soccer in Ethiopia. She's told us about it, but she also told us that it was mostly for older kids and mainly boys, at that. And there were no uniform requirements about shin guards and brightly colored t-shirts with socks to match or special cleated shoes for that matter--at least not for a group of 8 and 9 year old girls). So what amuses me so about this, is how quickly she made the adaptation to such things. But the first few games, the adaptation to running for almost an hour and being assertive when kicking the ball really didn't come too easily to her. Don't get me wrong, she loved watching the game (she seems to love watching sports in general) and when she wasn't on the field, she was the player on the sidelines standing next to the coach, arms crossed critiquing the plays. Running for four minutes-in.a.row-not so much her thing, but cheering on her team-well, that seemed right up her alley-or so I thought.
The funny thing about having girls (or boys, I suppose) the same age is watching them side-by-side do the same thing in their own unique way. So, I had gotten used to seeing B's muscled little self charging the ball while H would stop midfield to catch her breath after awkwardly running after that little black and white ball for a while. This weekend, however, good nutrition and regular exercise conspired to bring out H's inner-Beckham (David, not Posh, that is). The coach put H in the goal and she suprised us by charging up to catch the ball even while her opponents were still kicking it. The real suprise came when the coach put the girls in together. For whatever the reason, the stars had all aligned that night or something, B tapped the ball to H who took the ball and started dribbling down the field, slowly first and then faster. As she came up on the goal, with Mom and Dad cheering like maniacs from the sidelines, she kicked it-hard-and it went in. My husband and I looked at each other and we smiled at her and for her. What an accomplishment! Then, we looked to her side and saw B with a gleam in her own eye. The gauntlet had been thrown down and she has NEVER been one to shy away from a challenge. So, sure enough, as soon as the other team started the ball in motion, B was off like a shot. She quickly snatched it and turned around and proceeded to run down field, protecting the ball from her opponents. At one point when it looked as if the other team might steal it back, H placed herself between the ball and the offense and then graciously kicked it to her sister, who kicked it the rest of the way down the field for another goal! This scene repeated itself two more times, which ended the game with a final score of 17-1---not that anyone is keeping score.
My favorite part of the whole game, however, was toward the end. Both girls were recuperating from their offensive goal-scoring attack and were finished playing. When I looked over, there they were, BOTH of them standing side-by-side, next to their coach, arms crossed--Ditka and Ditka Jr.--watching the end of the game. Having never played team sports as a child, I don't know, but it seems that there may be one other bond as strong as sisterhood---teammates.