I'm down to my last chance.
My nuclear-powered, relentlessly aggressive 4-year-old starts soccer this week, finally giving me the opportunity to fulfill my potential as an obnoxious and overbearing sports parent. Because, as you know, the world just doesn't have enough of those.
As a huge sports fan with a houseful of girls who roll their eyes at my embarrassing antics while watching sports on TV, it's been a bit disappointing that -- so far -- no one wants to join in my silliness.
I would never, ever, never, ever say I'm disappointed by not having a son instead of daughters. I know what I was like as a boy; I'm not sure I'd want to unleash another me on the world. But the 4-year-old -- whom we'll call "Lucy," because that's her name -- is different from the others.
One headstrong girl
When Lucy saw a Spider-Man movie, she announced that she was going to climb up to the roof. When she got big enough for Space Mountain, she nearly refused to get off after her first ride. Her M.O. with her two older sisters frequently goes something like this: Physically rush headlong into something, and don't give up until you're in it up to your neck.
I'm looking forward to seeing if she applies those principles to soccer.
My oldest girl played some high school sports, and my 11-year-old played soccer when she was 4 or 5, but has limited opportunities because her mom and I live 80 miles apart and split weekends. As for the 10-year-old, she makes a face like she just bit into a large banana slug when we mention sports.
But little Lucy is ready, so ready that for legal and ethical reasons, I'm a tad concerned for the safety of the other kids. She'll likely consider any attempt by other players to stop her from doing what she wants a personal affront -- and act accordingly.
That's no joke. This may be the first beginning soccer league where the kids need helmets.
I've tried drilling into Lucy's head the notion that she'll have a coach who is like a teacher, only louder, and that she needs to listen to the coach. Listening, I realize, is different from obeying. But first things first.
All kinds of out there
Lucy's aggressiveness extends to all facets of her life -- fashion, for example. This is a girl who likes to be noticed, which is why she spent the past two weeks going to preschool in fancy dresses from holidays past, complete with plastic pearls, a purse and tiny little clip-clopping Disney princess shoes. Gloves, of course, were optional.
So, just in case chasing the ball like a growling maniac won't get her noticed on the soccer field, she has picked out some of the loudest, hot-pink and purple kids soccer clothes ever made. Maybe that's not uncommon at this age -- but I don't remember her sister looking that bright in soccer gear.
My wife and I can't wait to see what happens. Maybe she won't like it. Maybe she'd be better off channeling some of that big personality and aggressiveness into martial arts, or dancing, or acting, or ... something. Just as long as she stays busy. Because if she's not out doing something, I'm not sure how much longer I can keep her from realizing her Spider-Man fantasy.