(See Part 1 The World Cup: Get Up, Stand Up! & Part 2 The World Cup: United We Play)
After the thrill of being Brazil's invaluable 12th man (tho in his mind he got Peléd), Christiano was determined that soccer would remain a permanent fixture of our family life, its principles passed on to our enthusiastic children. Well, anyhow, to the original set of kids [hereafter referred to as 'The Premier League'].
The firstborn was a natural defender & trapping skills perfectionist who positioned himself at sweeper to tackle any challengers (particularly those charging his supper dish). The next two, a daughter-son duo, constantly begged Dad to kick it around and doggedly ran their drills all day. Or most of the day, until the pressure simply got to be too much for our precious Pizazz, who'd inevitably air it out by sinking a fang into the leather & thereby earn herself a bye week....
Not surprisingly (at least for those well-versed in birth order theory), the baby of the family, a last-minute draft choice acquired from the SPCA Juniors division, was an extroverted crowd pleaser. Christened Cameroooooooon, the dynamic dribbler was admittedly not the most disciplined athlete, impatient with set plays & preferring to improvise. Yet, just like Cathy's all -It's Milla- time favorite World Cup contenders, she was by far the most entertaining to watch. What's more, that Indomitable Lion uniformly marked any snakes in the grass and, without thought to risking her career, willingly took to the attack for the sake of the squad (garnering a record-setting 6 garters in a single outing... including one gut-checkin' overtime). But, most significantly, Cameroon revived - at least for her cheerfully sidelined soccer mom - that beloved '70s fad: Red, Yellow & Green Striped, Polyester Knee-Highs. Stylin'!
Now inexplicably, when they finally joined our team's roster, the second string of Sarkar progeny wasn't nearly so goal-oriented. Mikaela & Katrianna resisted Chris' every attempt to raise them into football fan addicts, which I believe might've been previously mentioned in passing. (See Homeschoolers Are Such Bad Sports.) (Plus Happy Dad's Day: Father No's Best.) (And Life Cycles: Spinning Our Wheels at Le Tour de France.) (Also alluded to briefly in Spring Equinox Fever Sows March Madness.) (Oh, and again, just casually, so as not to belabor the point, in On Your Mark, Get Set, GOld! to the Olympic Training Center.)
As conscientious parents -- simply trying to bring up our kids to be well-adjusted, socially-conscious, responsible citizens who are confident in their identities, life's purpose & place in the world -- we were at a loss. I mean, aren't we obligated to compel the girls to take part in something larger than themselves & thus recognize that a greater force is at work? (Illustrated exquisitely, for instance, when "doing the wave.") To be both humbled & uplifted in cheering - or booing - the cause of humanity? (Greatly facilitated by following the crowd cues flashing on the scoreboard.) Furthermore, as Phil Knight suggests, without a solid foundation in commercialism & springy shoes, could we really expect them to be adequately equipped for the game of life? (Sure, unless setting them up for failure as Nike goddesses is an acceptable option in your household.... Personally, I Just couldn't Do It.)
And, ultimately, how would our daughters ever achieve self-actualization - as in "find their centers" - if not through tuning in to ESPN's SportsCenter? Indeed, this universally acknowledged, inextricable link is clear not only to The Worldwide Leader in Sports, but was most incontrovertibly & resoundingly recognized by the Queen of Soul herself, Mz. Aretha Franklin, in that globally-renowned, empowering feminist rerererefrain: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T, soccer it to me!"