Moving from the frozen northland to the sunny south has meant that our winter has been much more temperate than we are used to (although unseasonably cold and snowy here this year, it still doesn't come close to our previous experiences). And I find that the advent of warm and sunny days cuts into my reading time, at least initially, as I feel a great desire to be outside running, walking, puttering around with plants, etc. The good news is that this feeling occurs concurrently with the start of the myriad of spring sports the K. crew plays, which ensures me loads of sitting in the sun and reading time while waiting for one or more children to finish getting sweaty and stinky. This week alone, soccer, baseball, and tennis have all started their seasons. And the temperatures have cooperated by starting with a 6 or a 7 (that's Farenheit, on the off chance any of my readers don't realize I'm incapable of the equation to convert to Celsius--although even I know that a temp starting with a 6 or 7 in Celsius would have melted me into a soppy little puddle of a former person).
With new sports seasons come new parents on new teams. Not being the world's most outgoing person, I tend to wait until they talk to me. Couple that with the honest fact that I am rather bored by the ineptitude of children playing sports (although the older of my children are getting old enough to be respectable at their chosen sports) and you'll know that I get rather a lot of reading done during practices (and sometimes during games too--bad mommy!). Yesterday's reading was interesting though, and not something that happens to me all that frequently. It was 100% appropriate for where I happened to be sitting at the time. I was reading Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town by Warren St. John while sitting at T.'s U-8 soccer practice. Not only did the coincidence strike me but it helped to drive home the inequities between a team like the Fugees, composed entirely of refugee children, and the children here on our suburban team. More than the soccer practice highlighting the differences (and let me assure you they were many) though, the baseball practice that followed the soccer practice drove home just how blessed the children around here are, including mine. Yes, all the children at soccer had cleats that fit. They were all given matching uniforms as a part of their sign-up fees. They all had soccer balls and shin guards and parents who were sitting on the sidelines instead of working at the local factory simply to make ends meet. As if that wasn't enough of an advantage, the baseball team players have even more. There was almost not a child there whose father wasn't either kibbutzing from the bleachers or helping out on the field or in the batting box. They all own their own bats and gloves. 90% of them (keep in mind these are 5-6-7 year old boys) own their own batting helmets and bat bags. These folks are serious about their boys' baseball and I felt like we were a bit declasse for not having all the appropriate equipment (T. wears his soccer cleats--hand me downs from his big brother's soccer career--for baseball instead of having baseball cleats as well). Then I looked down at the book in my lap and shook my head. If we weren't there for the fun of the game, then we shouldn't be there at all. The kids on the Fugees teams love soccer. Their lack of equipment--heavens, the lack of a proper field for most of one season--certainly didn't impact their love of the game. And we surely had a lot more going for us, all of us out there on the soccer field and the baseball field yesterday, in the warm and lovely March sunshine, than did/do the kids this book is about. We are truly blessed.