First match of the morning soccer teams are responsible for hanging up one set of goals (posts and nets). The equipment becomes tangled up when taken down and shoved into storage bags at the last match of the day, on the prior weekend. Goal set up can be a two-to-four person job.
My group was struggling to untangle our twisted web of poles and net. Erica had been observing us from a distance and decided to assist us. She became 22/100 in my 100 Strangers project.
Erica is a dedicated parent and soccer mom with three children who play the sport. It was her volunteer assignment to stand at the tournament information table and explain team match-ups and game schedules to any inquiring coaches and team parents.
After we set up our goal, she made her way to her booth. By the clock, I had a clean fifteen minute window before the first round of matches. I decided to follow her to thank her for the help. Also, I wished to offer an invitation to join my stranger project. She was going to be standing underneath a shade canopy, which could work swell as a diffuser of the ever-harsh New Mexican morning light.
Once finished with our brief mutual introductions, she agreed to participate. I asked her to remove her sunglasses, and then made my shots.
In our few minutes together, I learned that Erica is originally from Albuquerque. She said, “I am a mother of three children, and they, and my family, make me happy.” She told me it’s been challenging to raise them while trying to finish nursing school. Her youngest is an 8 year-old boy. It was for his team that she was at the field this morning. She has a daughter in the middle of the birth order, and her eldest is a 15 year-old-son.
“The teenage years have challenged me most as he asserts himself,” Erica said. “It’s sad to think that we are nearing the end of a chapter of life when he will soon be on his own. Each minute that you have with them: you love them all the more. I’m surprised at how my love for my children keeps expanding.”
She wished me well on the project when confirming receipt of her pictures. Erica, thank you, too.