Monday, November 16, 2009

From the Sidelines

Em went down, hard, twice during Saturday's soccer game, the last of the regular season. The first time was during a physical run next to another girl, during which she took some combination of a shoulder and an elbow to the solar plexus, and fell, doubled over, forehead on the ground.

I waited--days, I'm sure--for the ref to blow the whistle to stop the play so someone could go see if she was alright. Nothing. And so, from the sidelines, I started yelling to the line judge. "She's hurt! Get him to blow the whistle!" I said, as I started onto the field.

Baroy grabbed my arm. "You can't go out there," he said.

"But she's hurt!" I repeated. And I shook him off, ready to go, when FINALLY I heard a whistle blow and, simultaneously, saw Em's head come up. Her coach went out onto the field, got her up, had her stretch, made her giggle. The game resumed.

When the quarter ended, Em came trotting over to me. "MOM!" she said. "You weren't going to come on the FIELD, were you?"

"You were HURT," I protested. "You were doubled over. What was I supposed to do? Wait for you to start vomiting up blood while the rest of the girls trampled over you?"

Baroy snorted. Em rolled her eyes a little. "I was OK," she said. "I was mostly worried about what YOU were gonna do!"

I feel like I'm doing a lot of my parenting from the sidelines lately, waiting for the ref to blow the whistle, unable to get onto the field to help. It may have been the literal case for a few seconds on Saturday, but it's the perfect metaphor for N at school these days. There are meetings and discussions, and people talk a lot about what they are going to do, but they don't actually DO any of it.

The whistle hasn't blown yet. My kid is in a heap on the field, and the play is continuing around him. Am I going to have to wait for him to vomit up blood and get trampled by the rest of the players?

Why isn't anyone blowing the damned whistle?

Em went down for the second time later in the game, after scoring a goal with her left foot. She was off balance, that not being her 'regular' kicking foot. (She'd seen the goalie out of position, knew it was her only shot, and took it.) Right after she kicked, a defender from the other team slammed into her, and she went down, skidding, burning patches of skin off of her knee, her shin, her elbow, and her belly.

You could see tears in her eyes as she got up. But the first thing she did was to check the goal, to be sure she'd put the ball where she'd intended it to go. Then she looked over toward the sidelines, toward me, and grinned, pumping her fist.

The whistle blew. Score.


zb said...

I love hearing about Em on the field. Girl power in action, and like you describe yourself, I am a physical wimp, so I like to hear stories of girls and women who are not. It makes me proud for my gender.

po said...

Great post, triumphant slices with heartbreak in the middle :(. I found that the only thing you really can do is keeping asking them what THEY'RE going to do. Don't worry (like I did, for years) about being a pest, about looking confrontational. But there's only so much you can do, because you can't run out there on the field: you can't stand in the classroom every single day and make them do what they're supposed to. And if I've learned anything about public schools (after meeting countless parents) is that it often DOES have to get to the vomiting blood point before they do the right thing :(. Sometimes it practically has to get to the coma stage, if you don't stand up for your child.

Hugs! And tell Em she so totally rocks!

AB said...

WOW, I would have carried on... the actress in me. (G)

You go EM!!!

Meg said...

You go Em and TC! With my youngest Em's age, I really am on the sidelines more and more. Great post I am really impressed with Em's toughness and her ability to score with her left foot, off-balance. I hope N is not really on the field in a heap and that things are moving forward. It is not easy to watch from the sidelines.

Roni said...

Wow, I'm impressed with you and Em both! She's way stronger than I'd ever be. And I hope you get some whistles blowing soon for N.