Soccer It To Me

Confession time: any/all of my athletic inclination has come in the past five years or so, which coincided with a sudden interest in fitness. Before that I was a skinny, undefined wimp. I managed to get by using my wit and charm, and even scoffed at athletes when I was younger. Part of that passive aggression was due to the fact that I felt entirely out-of-place in any sort of athletic territory. Sports were so foreign to me, that my only defense was to mock them. Now that I have an athletic kid, that strategy is not going to cut it.


Nothing was more horrible to me than soccer game Saturdays when I was a kid. I went to a private Catholic school, so my parents were all but obligated to enroll me in a sport. Soccer was technically the easiest, so I got used to the whole routine – gearing up, running until I was completely out of breath, and being terrified if the ball came by me. I complained throughout practices like a total diva, while the other boys were concerned with their fancy footwork. I knew it just wasn’t for me, but as a child I wasn’t sure how to express it. Soccer game Saturdays meant that I had to give up my beloved Saturday morning cartoon marathon, and go do something that gave me major anxiety. I was internalizing all of my feelings because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents.

Eventually, there was a straw that broke the camel’s back. I don’t remember what the instance was – perhaps it was the week after week of humiliation that my parents didn’t want me to endure – but my dad asked me the question. “Son, do you want to be in soccer anymore?” I was so incredibly relieved and overjoyed that it became permanently burned into my memory. “NO, dad, I do not want to be in soccer anymore.” And that was the end of my very short school career in sports. I’m not even sure if I made it one season. After that, I even avoided going to sports events – I entirely blocked it out from my life.

Fast forward to now – I am fortunately no longer afraid of being fit and working physically hard to reach goals. I have much more coordination than I ever had, and even enjoy the feeling of being exhausted from working out. While I’m not one to attend sporting events or get excited for the Super Bowl, I’m not as scared of them as I used to be. Now I just see a bunch of sweaty jocks throwing a ball around a field. (Yay!) Since I’m not forced to participate, my viewpoint has changed. The only exception is that I have a sporty kid, and therefore must participate peripherally.

My ex-husband and I both knew early that Briggs would be in sports, somehow. He was always very strong and big for his age, and his favorite toy is any ball that he can kick or throw around. This was initially much to my chagrin, but over time I’ve acclimated to the situation. I remember watching him kick a ball with more accuracy at the age of 2 than I have now, and thinking “Oh shit, I’m going to become a soccer mom.” Now that he’s 7, he’s in two sports – tennis and soccer.

Tennis was my idea. It’s very relaxed and fun to watch him interact with the other kids. He can hit that ball clear out of the court, which is that natural strength he has. And then there’s soccer. He loves it, he’s really good at it, and he wants me to be there to witness all of it. The first few practices, I approached the fields and felt that same anxiety I did when I was a kid. Of course I didn’t show him any of this, and just kinda sat off to the side and observed what the other parents did. Some of the parents are crazy, and actually scare me when I watch them go apeshit for the game. Others are a little more like me – quiet spectators who will get loud at the appropriate time.

His soccer matches are constant reminders of the transformation I’ve made into being a full-blown dad. Being a dad means facing fears and doing things I may not want to do, for the sake of my son’s happiness. As silly as it sounds, I’ve had to overcome some major panic attacks and rally when he needs me. I have immense pride when I watch him do what I couldn’t, and offer my endless support in the best way I can. I may never be the dad that kicks the ball with him down the field, but I’ll always be on the sidelines, cheering and making sure my presence is known.

Show Comments ()
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

Keep reading... Show less
Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

After Suffering a Violent Homophobic Attack, This Gay Dad Turned to Advocacy

After Rene suffered a brutal homophobic attack that left him hospitalized, he and his family have turned to advocacy to heal

Guest post written by Rene and Nejc

We are Rene (35) and Nejc (29) and we come from Slovenia, Europe. I was an avid athlete, a Judoist, but now I am an LGBT activist and Nejc is a writer, who published a gay autobiography called Prepovedano. He was also a participant in a reality show in Slovenia (Bar) and he is an LGBT activist too. Nejc and I met by a mere coincidence on Facebook, and already after the first phone call we realized that we are made for each other. Nejc and I have been together as couple almost one year. We think we have been joined by some energy, as we have both experienced a lot of bad things with previous relationships and now we wish to create and shape our common path.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

10 of Our Most Popular Posts Featuring Single Gay Dads

Happy Single Parent's Day! To celebrate, we rounded up some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads.

Did you know March 21st is Single Parents Day? Well now you do, and you should mark the occasion by checking out our round up of some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

What's Life Like as a Single Gay Dad? These Guys Sound Off

We checked in with some of the single gay dads in our community to see what life is like while parenting solo

March 21st is Single Parents Day! To celebrate, we checked in with some single gay men in our community to sound off on what life is like while parenting solo — the good, the challening and everything in between.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How to Survive a Midlife Crisis (A Guide for Gay Dads)

Turns out David Blacker is, in fact, experiencing a midlife crisis — according to the very official results of a Buzzfeed quiz

Today I took one of those Buzzfeed-like quizzes to determine whether or not I am having a midlife crisis. I know what you're thinking. How can 29 be considered mid-life? God bless you, but I'm actually 35. Fine, 41. The Buzzfeed results — granted, we're not talking a true clinical assessment here — implied that I am, in fact, showing symptoms of a midlife crisis. But instead of shopping for a new sports car, I'm looking around for something else.

Problem is, I don't quite know what that is yet.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse