Urban (mis)Advantures

Football vs. Futbol — September 22, 2012

Football vs. Futbol

It’s the first school term, which means fall sports are well underway! At many schools across this great nation, two different teams of cleats tread down that green field painted with yard and goal lines.  One is football, the other is that sport wear a bunch of heavily padded guys cradle a ball, stop, and huddle a lot.  Oh that’s right.  We silly Americans call the latter ‘football’ and the true futbol/football, soccer.

My son joined the soccer team this year.  They practice for almost two hours after school on every day they do not have a game.  Fridays are often home games, and they have to clear the field in time for the seven o’clock other football game.  This week, the threat of West Nile virus in the area caused the school to end all extra curricular activities and sports before six o’clock.  Therefore, the soccer game was postponed to make way for the more popular football.  This will be ending once the cooler temperatures of autumn settle in, and all those disease carrying mosquitos die off.

The Boy says the ‘football’ team calls them “foot fairies,” and calls the girls’ team “fairies.” Hmph.  Fairies?  Really?  In futbol, the ball is not coddled and cradled like a baby, and thrown only if it lands out-of-bounds or once the goal keeper catches it while guarding the goal.  It is actually kicked by the foot, dribbled down the field while the athlete runs with it, passed to other players by way of kicking, and pounded into a goal by way of, you guessed it, kicking with the foot.

Since a futbol cannot be touched by most players’ hands, they must intercept a kick by using their feet, chest, or head.  I have seen some lovely bruises from players taking a launched soccer ball to the chest.  Ankles have been twisted by proper tackling or fighting over the ball.  And last week, the captain of the Boy’s team received a broken nose from the elbow of the opposing player when they went in the air for a ball.  Nothing “fairy” about that.

So “foot fairies” the American football players call them?  Hmph.
Says the guys who wear tights and jump on other guys who wear tights.

My Baby Started High School — September 15, 2012

My Baby Started High School

When my only child went to his first day of kindergarten, I went to work with light tears in my eyes and a couple of sniffles.  My supervisor was very understanding and claimed I would cry on one other day of his life:  when he starts high school.
She was right.

I drove him to the first day of Freshmen Orientation at the local technical school, where he would go through testing to help him choose his academic career.  After arriving at the Performing Arts Center of the school, we sat in the car, waiting.  For what I was not sure.  The Boy seemed a little nervous, for he was quiet.  We listened to music of his choice and made some small talk.  I gave him advice about being honest on the testing to help place him in the best program.

Then he spotted a friend.  “Kyle’s here! Bye, Mom!”   And just like that, he was out of the car, walking towards his first day of high school.

In that moment, I froze and looked up his fading figure.  With much difficulty, I put my hands on the Beetle’s steering wheel.  Blinking away tears once again, I left.

Two weeks later, I find myself a soccer mom once again, treating uniforms for grass and dirt stains and washing them every couple of nights.  The Mister and I attended a high school football game for the first time in 20 years, not to enjoy the sport itself, but to watch our son pound away on the drum set in the pep band.  We spoke to the band instructor to offer our support with fundraising to the sadly under-funded band program.  We will be going to Parent Night and learn how to be more supportive.

I truly believe that we parents are more stressed out about the Boy starting high school that the Boy was.

The Kinney Bungalow — September 3, 2012

The Kinney Bungalow

The latest urban adventure took me and the family to the second of four weddings this year.  This matrimony was held at the charming Kinney Bungalow down in Narragansett, RI.  The Bungalow itself rests on the acres of the Sunset Farm.  So when we stood in the parking lot waiting for the ceremony, rows of corn watched us from the side.  And there was a helicopter sitting in the back parking lot, with an interesting story behind it:

Oh, hello there.

The pilot of this fine craft flew in to the farm earlier on Sunday to assist with cutting/trimming some trees, but was stung by many bees.  Thus he needed medical attention, and Sunset staff agreed to house the copter until the pilot could come back for it.  Made for some fun stories and great picture opportunities, as many in attendance to the wedding were Volkswagen owners who parked their beloved cars protectively around the helicopter.

The short and sweet ceremony was held in the Bungalow’s yard, fenced off by lovely hedges.  With the high temperature reaching only about 75 degrees, Mother Nature provided a beautiful day for a wedding. The reception happened inside, with tables decorated by centerpieces of flowers and fancy, hand-made pinwheels.  I adopted a couple of unwanted pinwheels after the ceremony.  Kinney Bungalow is a very lovely place to hold a small to medium size wedding, with the dining area a bit separated from the dance floor. The cows showed up at the fence near the back parking lot, so after dinner, we watched them graze for a bit.  The fireplace was lit by a dozen or so hurricane candles, which gave a soft ambience.  The DJ was a friend of the groom’s and did not spin the “typical” reception tunes like ‘Macarena’ or ‘to the left, to the left, to the left’ or any ‘Whoa, Superman’ dancing.  Instead he spun some awesome 80’s music, including Duran Duran and David Bowie, and mixed a techno version of Aha’s “Take Me On.”  He threw in some house music, which got the Mister moving, and even a bit of modern dub or whatever you call it, resulting in the Boy hitting the dance floor.  The staff at Kinney Bungalow even got into the groove sometimes with the charismatic groomsmen.  A couple of mosh pits broke out, as Iron Maiden and even punk rock blasted their way into the reception.

What made this wedding so remarkable and memorable, was that it catered to our friends’ individualism.  The groom’s handle-bar mustache was combed to perfection.  Several half- and full-sleeves of tattoos (mostly on women) shined during the ceremony, making my inked rose at the nape of my neck feel quite inadequate.  The justice of the pease read notes pinned inside a Performance VW magazine.  And many of the men had to spend quite some time watching instructional YouTube videos to help with tying their neckties.  For although various piercings, tight pants, and bushy beards may be the normal attire, ties certainly are not.