Now I can officially say that I am a Soccer Mom. I’ve always been called that because of my large family plus, I used to be apart of the “
Mommy Van” (Minivan) Club for a long while. I’ve graduated and now I drive a much cooler (SAFER) car!
In our house Sundays are reserved for #sundayfunday. I most recently returned to work full-time and Sunday is now my only day off. So Sundays are very special to us!
I have 5 children and I love to experience new things. Trips, events and any extra curricular activities have the potential to become costly; not for our family. As much as I love to have fun, I equally like to save money. Today I’ll share how we have fun on the low with just a little planning and budgeting.
My son Zachary turned 5 on August 11, 2017.
Zachy loves Soccer so I thought it would be a great idea if I surprised him with Soccer Gear and take him to play Soccer. Now everyone who knows me knows that if I buy one of my children anything I will buy each of them the same. I had bad experiences with favoritism amongst my family as a child. I was always on the “short end of the stick” so I despise it! Now, I know this can be perceived as “sheltering” my children from the world but I don’t care.
I have a vivid imagination and as my daughter would say “I tend to go in and do too much.” In my defense, I’m just trying to have a good time and make memories. We went shopping and I bought each of us Soccer Gear. Modell’s Sporting Goods had a sell and I scored a huge discount on all of our Soccer Cleats. It was a Soccer Package for $39.99 which includes your choice of cleats, soccer ball and shin guard. I purchased our Soccer Uniforms at Wal-Mart in the Sports Department. Some of them were even on clearance.
My Significant Other (Mr. Man) gifted Zachy his Soccer Uniform, Cleats, Ball and he even bought a Whistle for the special occasion… Talk about a match made in heaven.
We each put on our Soccer Gear and made our way to play Soccer…
Independence Park… who knew? I’ve lived and grew up In East Orange, NJ which is only a few cities over from Newark, NJ. The first time I heard of Independence Park was when I was driving my children to the dentist which is in the Ironbound Section of Newark. “Down Neck” is what the old folks call it. We were on Van Buren and Adams Street and all I hear is OMG look at the Soccer Field…. A park with a soccer field, No way! Yes indeed!
Once we arrived to the park finding a parking spot was a breeze. My oldest son Jaamir said “Mom, we look crazy!” That was his way of secretly saying he was nervous. I’m pretty sure all eyes were on us but I didn’t care, I was ready to have a good time. We waited patiently (me anxiously) on the benches until a goal post opened up and it was our turn.
We thought we were going to kick the ball around and pretend like we were Soccer Superstars. But Mr. Man had other plans. We started out doing laps around the field following up with some warmup exercises:
- Hip Flexor: Get on one knee. Bend your rear leg so the knee is near the ground while extending your front leg and your hands towards your toes.
- Jumping Jacks: Total body warm up exercise
- Arm Circles: Make sure to go in both directions to warm up your shoulder joints
- Hurdler/Lunge: Helps with range of motion.
And a few other exercises to get our blood circulating, energy flowing and lower bodies warmed up. I think…haha!
Here’s some cool lingo we learned:
- Hand Ball: Occurs when a player other than a goalie uses an arm or hand to control the ball. This results in a foul and a free kick.
- Offsides: when a receiver of a pass is positioned on his opponents half of the field with less than two defenders between him and the end at the moment the ball is passed.
- Goal: A goal is scored when the entire ball enters the net.
- Free Kick: A kick for a personal foul. A team may score from this type of kick.
- Corner Kick: A method of restarting the game when the goal goes over the goal line after last touching a defensive player. Kick is taken from the corner nearest where the ball went out.
- Goalkeeper: The player positioned directly in front of the goal. It is their job to prevent shots from getting into the net. The only player permitted to use their hands and arms during the game in the penalty area.
- Throw In: A method of continuing play after the ball has crossed the touch-line (sideline). The player must throw the ball in at the point where it went out-of-bounds. The player must have both feet on the ground and throw the ball with two hands over their head.
- Through Pass: a pass which is played between two defenders for an attacker to run onto.
We picked our teams and we were ready to start the Match. As we prepared to start the first Round, two kids asked to join us. They were brothers around my kids’ age, 5 and 13. Mr. Man asked the boys if they played before and they said “yes, we play regularly.” He told them this was our first time playing so bear with them.
The little boys were competitive and fit right in because Boy Oh Boy are we competitive! We overheard the teenage brother telling his sibling “go easy on them.” We laughed and brushed him off. Boy were we wrong. That 5 year old played 1/3 as good as Mr. Man to be his age.
We had a great time overall. My oldest Jaamir was passing the ball with his head. My Matthew was sliding for kicks on defense. Joshy was having more fun running across the field than anything. Zachy was SO excited to be playing soccer on an actual soccer field. And my Nya is just a whole different person during competition. Not to mention, it sure does help having Mr. Man as our personal coach. (Who hoo. Go #18!)
After a few friendly and fun “matches” with us, Mr. Man was asked to join an Adult Match (He plays Soccer regularly). We proudly watched him play and show off his skills, I was trying to pick up some tips for myself. Once it was over we headed over to the playground. This was no ordinary playground. There were merry go rounds, 2 separate play areas with slides and activities, swing sets, a huge musical xylophone, drum section and lo and behold….Zip Lining. Yes! I said Zip lining.
The fun doesn’t stop there. From reading their website, Independence Park has an Adult and Kids Soccer Field, Softball Field, Basketball Court, Walking Path, Bocce Court, Senior Center and a Hockey Rink. The neighborhood is great but it gets busy down there so street parking isn’t always easily accessible.
SCORE For Soccer Mom!
A Family outing doesn’t have to break the bank to be exciting and fun. With a large family, I tend to get creative and use my Vivid Imagination to our advantage. We had fun, made memories and best of all, spent a special day celebrating one of GOD’S many Blessings!