Falling Short of Zen

I really try to be Zen like, but sometimes, it just seems like the world is conspiring against me.  Or more specifically, recreational soccer is conspiring against me.  Last night, in what can only be called the most f#@!%ing ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen, our town’s soccer league decided to host a parent meeting to discuss the upcoming season and to distribute uniforms, the only time (the emailed warned) that uniforms would be handed out.

I, along with a thousand other parents, fell for this trick.

Yesterday, was one of those days, I got first son off to school, worked out, showered, went to Target for school supplies that were missing from my pre-ordered supply kit, had a visit from the electrician, because, yes, we are still trying to get the cable hooked up for the tv that has been sitting idle in a cable-less room for close to a month now (a long, boring and complicated story).  Then, first son was off to kindergarten, little girl napped, the kids came home, I made snacks and then headed off to the first soccer practice. We got home a little after six, leaving me very little time to make dinner for everyone, before having to leave, again, for the annoying soccer meeting, which we decided I would go to. My husband would take bed time. Here, I thought I had gotten lucky.

Turns out, I was wrong.

First, I had to endure the boring power point presentation about nothing, though, I’m sure it was about something, but since I was in the back of a large auditorium with chatty parents, I could not hear.  The parts I did hear, I can tell you, were not worth the electricity it took to project the slides onto the large screen, how to find out about field closures, how to emphasize fun over competition, the difference between travel and recreational soccer, blah, blah, blah.  I used the time to clear out my inbox.

Unfortunately, a boring presentation wasn’t the worst of it.  This year, instead of letting coaches distribute uniforms, which would seem the logical thing to do, the soccer program decided to hand out uniforms, to each parent, at the end of the meeting, which they joked (though it wasn’t a joke) would be done then, so no one would leave early.

Here’s how it went down, the announcer said, all parents for girls and boys, ages 7 and 8, please come up and get your uniforms.  This prompted about two hundred people to form two lines down the aisles that led to the front of the auditorium.  These lines did not end in an orderly, one at a time hand out, but in a mass of people rushing the stage, as various volunteers randomly picked people to wait on.  In other words, the pushiest people got their uniforms first.

It took me all of five minutes to lose my patience, especially when I watched people in the aisle parallel to me advancing more quickly than I was.  By the time I got to the front, I was downright irate.  After I got my uniform (actually uniforms, my husband volunteered me to get one of the other players whose mother didn’t feel like going, what?), I was ready to walk out, until I saw our co-coach sitting back down.  When I asked him why he wasn’t leaving, he told me he had to wait for his other son’s uniform.

Since there was no table with uniforms for second son’s age group, I just assumed that his uniform would be handed out at his first practice.  When I realized I was wrong and that I had to wait again, I felt like a child about to have a tantrum.  Uniforms, for twenty teams, had to be handed out, I had only endured four.

That’s when I overheard a father and his two sons, who were sitting calmly in a row, say, “What do you have to do at home?”

Of course, the kid had nothing to do, but that didn’t stop him from complaining.  Did the father become upset?  Did he get up and start pushing his way down towards the front, or start yelling at his kid to stop complaining, you’re the reason we’re at this stupid meeting in the first place?  No, he simply repeated his question to his son, made some funny remark, which I didn’t hear, but made the boys smile, and they waited.

I realized then, that I have a long way to go to achieving any type of Zen like state, and after last night, question if I will ever get there at all.  While I admired the father’s words, it was in a, isn’t that nice, I wish I could be that patient, maybe some other time, kind of way, and then I continued on, in my own pushy and impatient way, even texting my husband, that if I have to do this next year, our kids aren’t playing soccer. I wasn’t kidding.

It might not be zen like, but I made it out of there, ahead of, at least, five hundred other people.

I wish I could say the story ends there, but it didn’t.  My anger only increased when I got second son’s shirt, which is so small it may fit his sister, even though I ordered him a medium, and my husband’s coaching shirt, a XXL, even though he ordered a large. Apparently, if you got in line first, upon inspection, you could change your mind about what size you ordered.

Then, today, the icing on the cake, an email containing the slides from last night’s meeting, a second email that links you to the practice and cancellation procedures, which by the way, has not changed since we started soccer four years ago, and figured out nicely without a parent meeting.  And, finally, the third email, that says if you forgot to pick up your uniform last night, you can get it at Saturday’s practice.

All hopes for Zen, as far as soccer is concerned, are officially down the drain.

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