The SUV stinks of sour shin guards and sweaty soccer jerseys. The boys are splayed on the seats and the floor in the back, napping between games at the tournament while we sit in the parking spot, trying to cool off. I look over at the mom my son and I are carpooling with, and she smiles slyly. She she digs around in the console, then pulls a new air freshener out of a package. Spent fresheners litter the cup holder area. She pulls the old one out and clips a fresh one on the air conditioner vent, and we aim them at our noses to try to clear the stench. It doesn’t work.
I expected stinky diapers. But when planning for children, I didn’t really think beyond the small years, when of course there would be spit-up and pee and vomit and poop. I didn’t think about foul feet and smelly soccer socks. When I glance back at the boys in the back, I expect to see stink waves coming off of them like in the cartoons.
All day sweat has dripped in rivulets between my shoulder blades and down my chest. My bra has gained 2 lbs from the perspiration, and it’s smeared with suntan lotion to boot. This thing, and our son’s shin guards, are going straight into bins of soapy water when we get home. When he pulled his uniform over head this morning, after wearing it in two games yesterday in sweltering August heat, our son squenched up his nose and said, “This doesn’t smell very good.” I guess we could have looked for laundry facilities in the hotel. Oh well. Maybe next time. But probably not.
I don’t know how the boys play in sun and in this heat. Back out on the sidelines I sit with my arms and legs out, making sure no part is touching any other part. Even in the shade, sitting still, I feel vulnerable to heat stroke. And there our sons run in the sun and sweltering heat without even hats or sunglasses. Their red faces give the strain away. The beads of wet on their upper lips give the strain away.
The sour stench of boys in the back seat gives the strain away. And they are only 11. How will August soccer weekends smell when they are almost men?