I just returned from Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton Oregon where hundreds of 14 year olds are battling it out on the soccer field for the chance to be the Premier Cup Manchester United American Champions. May I say that my son was the goal keeper representing the State of WAshington in this competition and although we weren't allowed to travel with, or even talk to him except by text and phone, we drove to Portland on Saturday to watch our son play. on the Ronaldo fields at Nike. Man that is one fine place to work with it's manicured grounds, child care center and man-made lake.
My son's Crossfire team (state champions) stayed together in a hotel, travelled by Crossfire vans, ate together at the hotel, slept when they were told to and wore identical clothes the whole 4 days. It was freaky to see your child across a field, not be able to touch him or talk to him and not know how the weekend is going. Texts were sketchy with excuses like, "my phone died" and "I lost my phone for a few hours". My husband, daughter, two dogs and I drove for 4 hours to catch a glimpse of the same kid who used to be the toddler who always planned to live with Mama and Daddy, only to have him leave the field after his game en masse without looking over at us. Freaky.
Yesterday when I saw the team watching another game on the sidelines, I did go up to the child I gave birth to, sat down beside him on the rock wall and said hello. He smiled, was polite but I could tell he was thinking "Mom! No one else is talking to their mothers!" It was strange for all us Moms who'd driven down from the Seattle area to support our children from a distance. When the team lost, I wanted to hug my child knowing how much he'd counted on making it to the finals but instead sent a text that said "You played great. I'm so proud. Love Mom".
The best reaction I got from my texts this weekend was when I told him I was walking his dog who was loving the forest and trails that web the Nike acreage and he said "I bet." Into that, I read that he was thinking about his dog and the fact that as well as being a soccer player, my son is the member of the family who made the trip to support his efforts in trying to be the best 14 year old GK ever. His dedication to the sport is admirable and I am so proud that he has a passion like soccer to pour his athleticism into. This experiance of competing against the best 14 year old soccer players in the country has been a fantastic experiance for him even if they won't be going to the Championships in England this summer. And it has prepared me a tiny bit for the day when my son doesn't live in our house, eat our meals, drive with us everywhere. Oh my breaking heart...