The Soccer Mom Culture: Turkey Tournaments

Jane played in a soccer tournament these last two days. For those of you unfamiliar with tournament play, in most children’s sports the most talented kids play post season games in and around their regions. There’s usually an A (All star) team, a B team (almost all stars), and a C team or two (kids with some potential and/or involved parents). Tournaments last one or two days, and the teams will play two to three games a day. The games are usually a few hours apart.

Families really need to devote a day to their child’s sport in order for them to participate in tournament play.

The tournament that Jane played in this weekend gave her three games on Friday (8am, 11am and 2pm), and two on Saturday (9am and 1pm). That’s a lot of soccer for Jane. Interestingly it’s even more soccer for Alexander, who is supposed to sit on the sidelines and cheer for his sister.

I love soccer. I grew up in AYSO, and I’ve watched it morph from something a few kids played in the beach cities, to an incredibly popular pastime with a level of parental involvement that I didn’t know existed.

Sometimes I worry that I’m not pushing Jane enough. She’s very fast, typically she’s the fastest kid on the field by many strides, but she isn’t interested in playing just one sport. She wants to play volleyball in the spring and not soccer all year ’round. She had a blast playing this weekend, but absolutely refuses to play on a tournament team in the springtime.

At what age do you ask a child to specialize? I’m seeing it happen younger and younger every year, and I’m not convinced that these kids are particularly gifted, or that they even care. When do you say to your child, “You’ve just got to do this.”?

How do you manage the other child? And when do we as parents just get to say, “No, I’m not hanging out in an RV at the park for two days so that you can play soccer.”?

Maybe there’s some part of the soccer mom culture that just escapes me, maybe I just don’t get it, and maybe I’m too selfish to want this for my life too.

There’s only one thing I know I’m right about. Funnel cakes, Papa Johns Pizza and Kettle Corn do not belong at soccer tournaments. That part was just ridiculous.

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