We have neighbors who are recent empty-nesters. For the first few years we lived here, we watched them come-and-go on weekends to their two boys’ various activities. When we would stop and chat in the front yard, the dad would always warn us of what was in our future.

“Enjoy this time,” he said. “One day you’ll be coming and going constantly to practices, meetings, games, performances, and whatever else your girls are doing.”

Tonight it begins.

This is the first fall all three girls will be playing soccer. Through the luck of the draw, they practice on three different nights (at three different times, no less). For the next nine weeks our weeknight schedules will be:

Monday: C.’s practice.
Tuesday: Nothing. Take a breather. Or, more likely, schedule playdates.
Wednesday: M.’s practice.
Thursday: L.’s practice (At 6:30, for an hour. Who schedules an Under-6 soccer team for the last practice slot and for a whole hour?)
Friday: I’m heading somewhere for high school football.

And then each Sunday we’ll have three soccer games. The best part about that is the league the girls are in plays all games, at all age levels, at a single site. So there may be some Sundays that we’re there for four hours. But at least we don’t have to race from one field to another 20 minutes away and then back again. Or have to be at two different places at the same time.

My favorite thing about Catholic schools in Indianapolis is the fierce kickball rivalries between the schools. I still remember laughing in my wife’s face when she told me kickball was a real sport here.

Anyway, that begins in fourth grade. A couple girls on M.’s soccer team are also on the St. P’s kickball team. I was recently talking to one of the moms about getting back-and-forth between soccer practices and kickball games.

Afterwards, in the van, I mentioned to M. that she could play kickball next year. I heard her sigh deeply. As we drove home, L. began asking questions about kickball. What is it? Where do you play it? Why was M. going to play it?

M. responded, in a very annoyed tone, “Mom just wants me to play kickball because she did,” and sighed again.

I laughed to myself and thought, who would have guessed that it would be the mom in our house pressuring the kids to play sports?