I was taking a walk the other day with The Things and passed a driveway where three boys were playing basketball. They were about ten or eleven years old and there was something about them that was eerily familiar, strangely similar.
Then I realized: they all had Justin Bieber hair.
Up to that point I’d been feeling the pressure to get Drew a haircut, but now there wasn’t just a choice between a military buzz cut or “llama goes to Woodstock.” Now there is an in-between. Now there’s Bieber.
Comforted in my new discovery, we kept walking. Through the mossy exuberance of his bangs, I saw his eyes blinking as he asked, “Mommy, where’s the rainbow?”
“There’s not a rainbow today because there isn’t rain,” I said. This was the street where four months ago we happened to see a rainbow on our walk, and ever since he never fails to ask about it, like maybe the rainbow lives at one of the houses on Hawthorne and comes out to play occasionally with the Bieber-headed tweens.
“Where rainbow go?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “
I love Drew’s innocence. His pure logic. His total lack of irony. Which is why I can’t explain for the life of me a good reason for signing him up for soccer, a sport that will put hair on his little chest faster than the whiskey I put in his bottle.
Yes, soccer. “You haven’t started that ALREADY?” asked my mom on Sunday. And my thought was, well, he has grown up going to play dates with these kids so why not organize and get a little exercise? But she seems to know something I must not be aware of yet: that soccer sucks parents in and spits them out 15 years later, their faces baked from the sun after hours of endless practices and games, and their wills broken by the rough and wooly world of competitive child sports.
(Are you still wondering if I really put whiskey in his bottle? Well, wouldn’t you like to know.)
But I’m like, hey, I want an excuse to buy miniature cleats. So sue me. We’re playing soccer!
Last week, the team moms commenced to spinning a ten-mile long e-mail chain trying to come up with a good team name. The usual ones were thrown out: the Sharks, Tigers, Cheetahs, etc. I was happy to see someone had suggested Ligers.
Then the fun really got going and whole themes began emerging: 80s references from “The Princess Bride” (ROUSS’s, Shrieking Eels, Little Phesics), references to other movies: Everlasting Gobstoppers, the Wild Fratellis (which I think is a bastardization of the original reference), and, my favorite: Foot Worth. That one was mine. But it didn’t make the voting list.
In a moment of adolescent reversion, someone threw out, “The Little Chuggers.” That’s when the team coach (husband to one of us) entered the cyber conversation and suggested it might be inappropriate for a soccer team of preschoolers to connote a drunken gaggle of Kappa Sigs.
The team name is still TBA, but I have a sick feeling we’ll end up being the Sharks or some other pedestrian predator.
We went out yesterday to buy the hallowed cleats. Sports Authority really isn’t a good place for strollers or anybody who lost their abdominal muscles somewhere back along the highway of reproduction. The entrance doors were not automatic. I guess if you’re shopping at Sports Authority you probably have the muscle tone to manually open a door, but just try getting a double stroller past it.
The smallest cleats they had were size 10, which were two sizes too big for Drew who for some reason has beautiful dainty Chinese feet. To add to my concern, Drew had insisted on carrying with him a small black pouch designed to clip onto a bike to hold supplies like keys and Chapstick. When we were leaving the back door and heading for the car, I noticed the pouch hanging from his forearm suspiciously like my black purse does from mine. He held it in his lap as I pushed the stroller through the apparel to the back where footwear was displayed. But to my relief, he gave it to Thing Two when he saw the basketball goals, and she proceeded to gnaw on its rubber handle.
I don’t know if soccer and Drew will be a match made in heaven, or a hell of a bad idea. Maybe it will be somewhere in between. And what more could a true Belieber ever hope to achieve?