Tonite I sprinted across a Major League Soccer field. There were 89 of us--pushing and striving toward the ultimate prize: a diamond necklace. Personally, I would rather get a spa treatment, but who would say no to free diamonds?
My beau, K, got tickets for all of us (him, me, my girls, his boy and girl) to go see the Real Salt Lake game. It just so happened to be Mother's Day Eve. In honor of the occasion--or in order to exploit the occasion--the fine folks at Real Salt Lake decided to do a Mother's Day Dash at the end of the first period (do they have periods in soccer?). As we were walking in, I was accosted, I mean, I was invited to participate and my loving, wonderful children all too eagerly herded me over to sign up. The gist of it was to have 100 moms on one of the goal lines at half-time (do they call it half time?) and have 100 envelopes filled with magnificent prizes (gift certificates for dinner, spa treatments, strange local coupon books, and the big one: a diamond necklace) littered all over the field at the opposite goal line. At the signal, we moms would move our booties, preferably at a run, across the field to duke it out for our prize envelope. The excitement! The spectacle! The chest pains! (How long is a soccer field anyway--there were rumors ranging from 50 to 200 yards, with most of settling on 100...we could make it 100 yards, no problem...couldn't we?)
As we settled in our seats to watch the game--my registration for the half-time humiliation complete--my girls and K suggested several tactical strategies that I could use to my advantage.
"Position yourself right in the middle of the goal line, don't get on the end."
"Why don't you warm up and stretch, maybe run a few laps around the stadium?"
"Be ready to elbow your way past the other moms if you need to."
I paid scant attention to their eager words (except for that elbowing one--that could come in handy.) I was more interested in how I could pretend to go to the field and instead get a coke and a churro without any of my loyal support team noticing. I tried to distract myself from the impending run (I mean, we often don't even walk up and the down the stairs to talk to one another at our house--we text, call or email--and now I have agreed to actually run, nay, sprint in front of a crowd) by looking for cute soccer players and grooving to the cool percussion group who played non-stop throughout the game. In fact, I want to go back again for the percussion alone (we don't really have any cute soccer players!)
When the time came, we were instructed to take off our shoes if they were heels or otherwise unfit for running. I had miraculously worn tennis shoes, of a sort. They were slip on sneakers that fell off half the time just sauntering down the street. I decided to leave my shoes at my seat and meet my fate in the shoes God gave me. When I found my way to where all the other moms were corralled, I began to sense that this wasn't going to be one of those "fun runs." These moms meant business--and they seemed to know one another. I scanned the crowd for other lone moms like me, wanting to throw in my lot with them rather than the pods of ya-ya sisterhoods I was surrounded by. I noticed two pregnant moms, and decided that if I ran next to them I might not look half bad. I might even look like I'm in some sort of shape. I mean, if I can't outrun an obviously pregnant woman, then things are worse than I thought and I think it's time for someone to do one of those extreme interventions with me: introduce some dire consequence for sitting on my ass, brand me with a scarlet L for lazy, send me to rehab with Amy Winehouse.
Noticing the pregnant moms, one of the ya-ya pod moms made a suggestion that I thought was inspired, "They should have given all of us a soccer ball and had us stuff it up our shirts and we could all do the pregnant hobble across the field to get our prize." THAT would have been worth seeing--that is what a great half-time soccer show is made of! Maybe those ya-ya pod moms were not evil after all. Finally, the gates were opened and we were led to the center of the field, I had images of the mighty Roman gladiators as we stepped into the arena. Being on the field, I was ready to face this challenge. I was prepared to run my heart out and grab my envelope with gusto! My mind started playing the theme song to Chariots of Fire, and I only hesitated for a moment when I saw the EMS personnel roll out behind us with a stretcher and the full emergency medical accoutrements.
Looking back, I no longer feel the fear. I only feel the joy of running in front of a bunch of strangers with a bunch of other strangers for a prize I don't even want, and ultimately, (after tearing it in half because another mom over-enthusiastically grabbed two envelopes, and being unable to find the redemption booth to trade in my torn envelope for my actual prize, throwing away said envelope,) I am proud to be noted among those other brave moms who faced twisted ankles, pulled muscles, broken fingernails, and (in some cases) early labor to celebrate our roles as mothers by participating in a spectacle for soccer fans.