What a Way to Get Your Kicks!

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It’s a blisteringly hot week in Blaine, Minnesota, with temps expected to reach the high 90s. My sister, who has lived in the Minneapolis area for 43 years, told me that this week in July is known historically as being one of the hottest in the area every summer.So naturally, Schwan’s Food Company is hosting its annual USA Cup international youth soccer tournament this week.

Tuesday night, thousands of kids on teams from across the United States, as well as such far flung countries as Argentina, Sweden, and Japan, crowded the stadium to kick off the extravaganza of soccer and sweat.

Now I love my child, but I’ve got to be honest. There are dozens of places I’d rather be than sitting in the blazing hot sun and watching girls run around battling for a soccer ball. In between games, I’ve been going on Facebook and jealously noticing pictures of my friends on family vacations. But for reasons out of my control, my husband and daughter are obsessed with her soccer development. So traveling out of town to tournaments constitutes a vacation in our family.

Today the games were moved up earlier because the mercury is supposed to climb up to 97 degrees. We just beat a team from Iceland, a country with summer average temperatures in the mid-50s. I guess you could say we Midwesterners had a home field advantage, the opposite of the one that the Chicago Bears enjoy when they play Miami at Soldier Field in January.

Okay. I admit it. It was a lot of fun watching my daughter and her team, the Wizards, dominate the field today. Our daughter had some spectacular plays and looked a bit like a sleek thoroughbred filly sprinting down the field. And our defender had an amazing goal from midfield on a foul call. I enjoyed hooting and hollering along with the other Wizard families.

There are worse things than seeing 13- and 14-year-old girls be fierce, athletic, and competitive. They have a great camaraderie and are learning some important life lessons about teamwork, effort, and fair play.

I guess a family vacation revolving around soccer is not so bad. And lucky me. After the tournament is over, we will be staying on to watch our girl on the court in an AAU basketball tournament.

I predict we will have a ball.

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