“Mom! Can I Talk to You for a Minute?”

She sought me out at the end of the soccer game—a first round State Cup duel our girls won 2-1. I knew she was pissed about something—it showed all over her face, particularly during the second half of the game. Did I think she was pissed at me? Well, yes. She’s been pissed at me for about a year. I can’t tell you why other than to relate that she’s a teenager. And what teenage girl isn’t just a little bit pissed off at her mother?

But something else was clearly bothering her and my guess is that it was just a stressful situation. Regardless, she did voice what was bothering her about me:

“Please don’t talk to me from the sidelines,” she said while standing one inch from the sideline chalk. “It doesn’t help. It’s just a distraction.”

“Okay,” I said. “Gotcha.”

My 15-year-old was right. Usually I’m not a sideline screamer. For the most part, I’m either taking photos or saying things like “Ooh! Good pass!” or “Get a goal!” But during this game I did bark once: “Willow! Wake up!” She definitely heard me.

Even though they ultimately won, after the game I didn’t sense a feeling of pride or victory coming from the team—from the parents or the players. The other team had stepped it up a notch and came to play, while our girls played nervously. They were actually a little lucky to have pulled off the win. I think to make it a real victory, however, next week in round two, the girls should remember to bring their positive attitudes to the field . . . and so should the parents. And by parents, I mean me.

I vow to never bark again. Sorry, Willow.

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