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Published September 21, 2010, 12:00 AM

Parenting Perspectives: A mom’s soccer dilemma

I’m not going to lie. I’m not always suited for weather on the northern Plains.

I’m not going to lie. I’m not always suited for weather on the northern Plains.

I come from a long line of Southern folk – people from Virginia, Tennessee and even Mississippi. My ancestors said “y’all,” not “uff-da.” I’m not sure they were hardy enough to be pioneers. My husband – he of the hardy Scandinavian/Iowa stock – says if it had been up to the Briggs family to settle the West, the frontier would have ended somewhere in Delaware.

In fact, my family didn’t settle in Fargo until 1969, when we were pretty sure indoor plumbing was a guarantee.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I struggle with September soccer here in Fargo-Moorhead when, as Gordon Lightfoot sang, “the gales of November come early.”

I hate to admit it, but I’m not heartbroken when the rain starts to fall and the kids’ practice is called off. I was hopeful a couple of weeks ago. It had been cold and rainy most of that Thursday. I figured if it wasn’t raining at practice time, surely the fields would be too wet. But obviously I forgot these are pioneer people. Pa Ingalls himself was probably a soccer coach. Practice as usual.

I try to be a good soccer mom. I didn’t have time to change after work, so I found myself traipsing across the field in heels. My heels sunk into the mud, and the slimy grass tickled the arches of my feet. Meanwhile, the wind was cutting through me like a Ginsu knife through butter.

Why did nobody else seem to care?

There’s a crazy dad over there in Bermuda shorts and flip-flops. Maybe he has high metabolism. Then there’s that mom wearing sensible shoes and a North Face jacket. I bet she likes camping.

What will these rugged sorts think of me if I bail? Then I see other wimpy parents sitting in their cars. Ahhh … my people. I bet their ancestors fought for the Confederacy, too.

It felt so good to be in my warm car again. But I knew it was short-lived. I started to think about the long winter ahead and how I would cope with temperatures of 20 below and blizzards when 50 degrees and rain felt this cold. I kicked myself for being such a wimp.

My kids don’t seem to mind. They’re having fun playing soccer in the cold drizzle (they are half hardy Scandinavian/Iowan, I guess).

Why can’t I be more like them or like Bermuda short man or Rugged Camping mom – hardy folk who laugh in the face of winter and even look forward to that first snowfall?

On second thought, those folks are plum crazy! Maybe next practice I’ll just have to bring a blanket and a pitcher of Grandma’s special-recipe mint juleps. I do declare that maybe soccer practice is looking up.


Tracy Briggs is a mother of two and is an employee of Forum Communications Co.

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