C.J. Starts Soccer

“Ohhhh, Mama, I look like a soccer player!” C.J. is standing in front of my mirrored closet twisting back and forth at the waist, watching his shimmery black athletic shorts — which are two sizes too big — sway below the knees as he moves.

“That’s because you are a soccer player,” I say with excitement.

“I am?!”


“Why is my costume green? I don’t like green. I like pink. And, purple,” C.J. asks, not taking his eyes off of his reflection.

“Because you are on the Green Dragons!” I’m trying to exude total excitement and none of the apprehension that I really feel.

Two days later we arrive at the first game, with is also the first practice when you’re on an “Under 5 (years old)” AYSO team.

C.J. meets his five teammates and his coach. They are all bouncing around like they are hopped up on Red Bull and fruit snacks. A little boy named Nolan approaches C.J., who is standing timidly by his brother.

“Give me five!” Nolan shouts.

C.J. smiles and gives him five. It’s the passive version of a high five where you lay your palm out open and let the other person do the actual “fiving.”

“Give me five!” Nolan shouts again. His energy is appreciated, but I’m glad that my kids take a while to warm up.

Again, C.J. smiles and presents his palm.

“Now, I’m going to give you a hard five!” Nolan shouts.

“No!” C.J. says and whisks his palm up to his heart.

“C.J. doesn’t do ‘hard fives’,” C.J.’s Brother says in warning to Nolan, who immediately turns and runs in search of someone who does do “hard fives.”

The 30 minute practice was over before C.J. knew it and we headed to the game field. As we were walking he spied it. I saw it. I saw him see it and I knew what was coming. He pointed to the little girl in the pink AYSO uniform and said very loudly, “Why does SHE get to wear pink and I don’t?”

“Because you got picked for the green team. They don’t have a pink team for boys. And, this is one of those times when you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

C.J. was pissed, confused and all-around disgruntled about the color of his uniform, but he kept walking to his field.

If you’ve seen kids this age play soccer, you know what it looks like. A cluster of kids, with the ball in the middle moving up and down the field, and sometimes off of the field, in a swarm of chaos and kicking that accomplishes next to nothing. They kick the ball in the direction of whatever goal is closest, with little regard to if it is their goal or not.

C.J. followed the swarm of players and stayed on the outskirts, prancing and acting like he really wanted to kick the ball, but I could almost hear his thoughts whispering to the ball, “please don’t come to me, please don’t come to me.”

At halftime, which was a grueling 15 minutes in to the game, the kids were a sticky, sweaty mess with a coating of wet morning grass. C.J. joined his fans for a drink of water and some oranges. His shirt had come un-tucked in the frenzy of soccer action and he was twisting it around in his fist.

Just so you know, K. Stew is largely believed to have the best t-shirt knot in hollywood.

“Mama, can you tie my shirt in a knot right here. I dink it will be better dat way.” He indicates that he wants his shirt in a knot on his right hipbone.

C.J.’s Dad gives me a questioning look. “Did you teach him that?”

“No, I didn’t teach him to knot his shirts. Have you ever seen me knot my shirt? I haven’t since the late 1980’s, early 1990’s when I wore a banana clip in my hair,” I said in my own defense.

“Then where did he learn it?”

“I don’t know!” I turned to C.J.

“No, baby, we aren’t going to tie your jersey in a knot in the front,” I said.

“Can we knot it in da back?,” C.J. asked, demonstrating how it would be done.

C.J’s Dad looked at me and rolled his eyes.

“No, baby, let’s just tuck it in again.” Halftime was over, so there was no debating which would look better, a re-tuck vs. a knot in the front or back.

C.J. continued to follow the swarm of players, keeping to the perimeter, with his arms straight down and wrists at 90 degree angles. At one point the ball was kicked by another player and it bounced off of C.J.’s shin. He looked at us and smiled. Dimples deep and pride high.

“Good kick C.J.!” we all cheered from the sidelines.

On the way home C.J. regaled how that bounce off of his shins was a kick that almost scored a goal. I regaled internally how his sporty jersey was almost turned into a one-of-a-kind knotted creation sure to go against AYSO boys’ league standards.

About raisingmyrainbow

RaisingMyRainbow.com is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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8 Responses to C.J. Starts Soccer

  1. What a fantastic world we live in! I was sewing sequins on my tennis shoes in 1960, in Indiana, and somehow made it to a Fabulous Adulthood. We hang on your every word. Hope we meet C.J. someday.

  2. Rob says:

    The goalie for Juventus (famous Italian team) has worn a pink shirt for ages, in reference to the fact that the team originally had pink uniforms. I believe there is some debate about them going back to pink for the away colors now. Anyway, there is a precedence for pink uniforms for men’s teams in soccer.

  3. ButchDyke(is that redundant)? says:

    You could always start a pink and purple team for him with the league.

  4. OC Native says:

    C.J. referring to his soccer uniform as a “costume” is hilarious, and a good indication of what lies ahead. I predict an interest in fashion and/or design (with lots of his favorite color pink!).

  5. Tommy says:

    Oh, oh, once again my eyes are watering as I read this in the middle of the night, tired. There are gay sports leagues you know, just not for gay four year olds who don’t know what the word means yet. Ever heard of the Gay Games? Olympic style world wide competition and achievement. (OK, that’s for C.J.’s dad who would be just as proud of a gold medal with a rainbow on the back.)
    I FEARED THE BALL. I almost drowned at a YMCA swim lesson at the age of seven. My throat is tight now, once again you have brought forth ancient memories.
    For God’s sake, get him a soccer ball for home practice and PAINT IT PINK! If no one sees them, his brother will help him, I bet.
    Don’t forget the Princess band-aids so he’ll feel rewarded for rough and tumble play.

  6. I didn’t know what AYSO was … I found this … http://www.ayso.org/ In case anyone else is “sports impaired” as I am.

  7. Rebecca says:

    I’m impressed CJ signed up for soccer. My son declared that he doesn’t like sports “with balls”, except for miniature golf and “ball pit”.

  8. Felisha says:

    I thought my non-athletic, yet tomboy niece would never “get” soccer. Four (long) seasons in, and she makes goals. 🙂 I like the diversity of kids she is introduced to through the game, but also how much pride she has in it. Yay for trying new things!

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