By Paige Tucker

Snacks and sidelines. That pretty much sums up the soccer career of my Julia Reynolds. She was newly three and, looking back, not quite field ready! And calling August soccer in Augusta “fall soccer” ought to be illegal. It was brutally hot!

She carried the ball more than she kicked it and chose not to play a single minute of any game. She much preferred snacking in the shade at practice with several other girls on the co-ed team.

We wanted to join the Sharks team because so many sweet friends were playing that season. Off we went to get the cleats and the cute Umbros and the bright pink soccer ball. She certainly looked the part, and all of the tiny players were too cute for words. Her hot pink cheeks matched that ball well… and mine did too, on a couple of occasions.

My first face flush came mid-season on team picture day. It was an especially scorching afternoon. I got my little soccer girl suited up and we headed for the giant field where the entire soccer organization, it seemed, was gathered for pictures.

It was pure chaos! Kids running wild everywhere, melting down, mixing up between all the different teams. There was no sense of order. When it was finally the Sharks turn for a picture, Julia Reynolds had hit the wall, as toddlers do. While the coaches were lining up the children, my baby shark took off running into the field. She would not stop running, and my chasing only encouraged her!

This went on long enough that we missed the picture! Flustered, I scooped her up over my shoulder and we got the heck out of there. Julia Reynolds went into full meltdown mode and my face was burning with a mix of embarrassment and heat exhaustion. I got plenty of knowing nods and sympathetic looks from other parents as we made our way to the parking lot.

When pictures were printed and distributed weeks later, I burst out laughing because I noticed the very tip of Julia Reynolds’s big bow showing in the background of the team photo. The camera had caught a glimpse of her as she sprinted through the field. A tiny piece of ribbon was the only shred of evidence of her time with the Sharks.

Needless to say, we did not return for the spring season! As she grows up, she loves trying new activities and figuring out what makes her happy. Hopefully, another team sport is in her future, and if she wants to try soccer again, we’ll go for it. After totally forgetting to bring snacks on my designated day (huge #momfail!), I’d love a second chance at being a soccer mom!

After twelve years in local news, most recently as evening anchor of NBC 26, Paige Tucker is now a work-at-home mom and freelance journalist. She produces two series for NBC 26 TV, First Responders and 26 Women Today, and you can see those stories on Tuesday nights. Paige and her husband have one daughter, Julia Reynolds, who is five years old.