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Scene, Sunday, July 8, 2007

Back in February, I wrote a column about the scary new sport in which my oldest son, Jimmy, was participating. Lacrosse was new to me, made little sense and left me in fear that my son was about to get “checked” a few times too many.

In case you don’t speak the language of lacrosse, “checking” means slamming into an opponent. The slamming may or may not involve the long metal sticks the players carry.

That definition came straight from Jimmy’s mouth but was edited so I could fit it into one paragraph instead of 12.

I learned all sorts of fascinating things about the sport, sometimes as the result of exposing myself as a “newbie.”

Before one game, I made the mistake of saying, “Who came up with this crazy game?” Lacrosse is an American sport because Native Americans came up with it, someone in the crowd smugly informed me.

After that, I tried to control my tongue and take my cues from the more experienced fans around me.

I went from cheering, “Get out there and hurt somebody!” to the more acceptable, “Poke him!” and “Use your stick!”

The mistakes I made throughout the season were small enough that I’m pretty sure the other parents were too involved in the action to notice. Once, I cheered when our team got a penalty, and another time I stood up yelling “Go Jimmy!” for about five minutes when my son wasn’t even in the game.

My biggest blunder was accidentally driving to the wrong field one Saturday morning. Luckily, the right field was located just down the road, so we managed to sneak in just as the game started.

While I drove Jimmy all over Northern Virginia to test out his lacrosse skills, Ron was the assistant coach for Tommy’s soccer team. The added responsibility of coaching didn’t present a problem until late in the season.

Tommy’s head coach announced weeks in advance that he would be out of town for the final two practices, leaving Ron to coach in the sticky mid-June heat.

At the last moment, Ron had to work late … on both practice nights! I had no other choice than to put a whistle around my neck, assuming the title of “Coach” for the first time in my life.

I think I did OK but don’t want to go into details about the whole sweaty, confusing experience.

Ronnie didn’t miss out on the action during our spring sports frenzy. He took to the soccer field again, showing off his own style of aggressive play.

We agree that his fearlessness on the soccer field must be the result of eight years of defending himself against Jimmy and Tommy.

This column has barely scratched the surface of how busy our Saturdays were from late April until mid-June. The only way I kept up with the boys’ sports schedule was with three separate calendars, one by the phone in the kitchen, another by the computer and a third in my purse, so I would have it with me at all times.

Somehow, it worked and was even fun at times.

Now that it’s summer, our Saturdays are a lot more relaxed. Jimmy and Ronnie decided to take the season off.

Tommy, on the other hand, is participating in a sport that makes as little sense to Ron as it does to me. The entire family, including Glory, sat clueless on the sidelines during his first rugby scrimmage.

Finally, I couldn’t contain myself any longer. “They look like little goats, all bent over out there,” I said before a play. Then, remembering my lacrosse blunder, I whispered to Ron, “Where did this crazy sport come from?”

His response was, “I don’t know, maybe Australia!”

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at homefront@stripes.osd.mil or find the Zichs online at www.lifeonthehomefront.com.


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