What alcohol you serve while tailgating before your toddler’s soccer practice depends on when and where the practice is held. If it’s after work, I recommend beer. If it’s early Saturday morning, you might want to go with, if you’re into that sort of thing (I’m not), bloody Marys (although I have been known to enjoy what I refer to as the poor man’s bloody Mary, recipe as follows: one can PBR, one or two shots tomato juice, Cholula to taste, mixed in a pint glass). If your kid’s soccer practice happens to be early Saturday morning at a nice park in a fancy neighborhood, mimosas made with fresh-squeezed orange juice and trendy sparkling wine are the way to go. If you’ve been meaning to bust out the Sofia, by all means, now is the time.
Plan to arrive at the field at least an hour before practice starts so you’ll have adequate time to get your drink on. Especially if beer is on the menu, scope out the park ahead of time so you’ll know where the restroom facilities are located.
Let’s talk about the menu. In terms of food, you’ll want to go with appetizers and finger foods for an early evening soccer practice. Consider chips and dips and that gigantic container of cheese puffs you always want to buy at Super Target but somehow manage to resist. Another option is homemade hummus, with the usual pita bread and baby carrots or, for a more exciting taste adventure, everything bagel pretzels (these are the shit dipped in hummus). For those of you faced with the weekly horror of early Saturday morning soccer practice (Can you feel my excitement from here?), consider overnight oatmeal; breakfast burritos (the good news is that these are better when made ahead of time — just reheat in the microwave before you head out); or a big ol’ box of bagels or donuts.
A modest spread is all that’s expected when tailgating at toddler soccer practice. Don’t go all out like you would for tailgating before an SEC football game, and of course no grilling is required. Just bring a few folding chairs or a blanket to put on the ground, napkins, and some plates and utensils.
Okay for real, I’m just kidding. We don’t tailgate before Soren’s soccer practice. We totally should, though, because that shit is bananas. It seems he’s not quite ready for team sports. I don’t know if it’s that he’s younger than all the kids who are ready for team sports — Ben’s guess is that all but one of the other kids on the team are maybe a year older than Soren, and Soren and the other young kid were the ones running around doing their own thing the whole time. My worry is that our dumb hippie asses are raising a child who believes he’s a special snowflake who doesn’t have to follow directions or worry about the success or failure of a team in which he doesn’t particularly care to participate when he could be doing what he wants when he wants. I don’t really think this, but it’s the kind of thing I worry about.
I mean, yeah.
This photo was taken right after practice, and this is pretty much the level of enthusiasm he had the entire time. (Don’t worry, his socks were pulled up over his shin guards during practice, so he didn’t look like a dork who doesn’t know how to wear shin guards, which is what he would’ve looked like if I were the only one in charge because I have no clue. In my day, people didn’t play soccer. They were too busy trying to run from dinosaurs and make fire.) The highlight of the day was when he did a few downward-facing dogs over the soccer ball, which was what he did when he was supposed to be in “soccer ready position.” (Soccer ready position looks nothing like a downward-facing dog.)
I have good intentions with this soccer thing. I don’t expect my kid to be a sports nut like I am, but I want to expose him to as many constructive things as possible when he’s as young as possible so he has a chance to maybe be good at them one day. This goes for music, art, and whatever else we come up with, in addition to sports. I took piano lessons (against my will) from a young age and was a decent piano player until the glorious day my mom finally allowed me to quit. I didn’t start playing any organized sports outside gym class until I was in maybe seventh grade, and by that time, it was much too late — I was bad (I played right field in softball, if that tells you anything) and there was no way that, lacking physical talent to the extent I do, I’d ever catch up with the people who’d been playing for years. I want Soren to at least have the chance to be good at stuff, if he’s into that sort of thing one day.
And if he’s not, we can get there early and have drinks.