Mr. Soccer Mom, the A-Men and Son of Willie

by Chris Aaland

And so it began. Otto donned the reversible, blue & gold Durango Parks & Rec jersey for the first time Saturday morning at Santa Rita Park. With Shelly on the road coaching the Fort Lewis College volleyball team at their final spring tournament of the season, I became a soccer mom — albeit, a rather poorly dressed, smelly, unkempt one. While some of the other soccer moms pranced around in tight-fitting, acid-washed jeans, sipping designer coffee, I wore the same gym shorts, T-shirt, fleece top and dirty, white socks that I wore around the campfire the night before, a pinch of Skoal between my cheek and gums, just like Earl Campbell taught me back in the ‘70s. Bad Mr. Soccer Mom.

Excited about our 4-year-old’s first foray into “organized” athletics, Shelly rushed to the sporting goods store a week earlier to buy shin guards, knee-high soccer socks (which, on a tyke, are really thigh-high) and brand-new boots, as the fútbol sect likes to refer to their shoes.

Come Saturday morning, though, Otto wanted no part of it. He was too shy to go to the park, complained that the jersey and pads made him itch, and refused to budge. Gentle coaxing from Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Billy and Dad (three of whom no doubt felt the effects of too many whiskey & cokes and microbrews around last night’s campfire) finally got junior into the car.

We arrived at Santa Rita a half-hour before kickoff, thinking we were late. In reality, we were there 15 minutes earlier than any of his teammates. I guess social phobia wasn’t limited to my offspring alone. But Mr. Grumpy refused to put his jersey on and pouted through the first five minutes of the game on the sidelines.

When the other team scored, it piqued Otto’s interest. Four-year-old soccer is 3v3 with no goalie, meaning no more than six wee ones chase the ball at any one time. Otto joined two of his best buddies on the field: Camden, the son of FLC’s highly decorated women’s basketball coach, and Lila, another friend from school clad in a pink skirt and pink soccer socks. Otto had an orange Broncos hoodie under his blue & gold jersey, black & red sweats covering his legs. Garanimals these aren’t. There’s no color chart when outfitting your kid.

Otto took the next kickoff and quickly fired the ball into the net. Then he scored again. My bad video-filming captured 12 of his goals before the game was over, some even shot by his left foot. In less than an hour, Otto had exceeded my career soccer output by at least 11 goals. And there we were, my parents, brother and I barking instructions, encouraging him to pass and play defense. I had become what I’d always feared in my 20-year career as a collegiate athletic administrator – a soccer mom. I need to repent.

Fortunately, the A-Men – one of the few acts that my schedule allowed me to catch at the 17th annual Durango Bluegrass Meltdown a few weeks ago – hold their semi-regular gospel brunch at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Diamond Circle Theatre. This trio of Bruce Allsopp, Jack Tallmadge and Steve Williams may be best known for their work in a variety of local bluegrass bands.

All three are veterans of Rock & Rye at one point or another, and Bruce and Steve were past members of the Badly Bent. But the high-and-lonesome isn’t all they do, stretching into spooky, electrified Hot Tuna territory at times. Jack is a walking encyclopedia of country music, Bruce a lifelong Deadhead, and Steve even once snuck into Zappa’s backstage area. I don’t pump up the local bands nearly enough on these pages, but trust me – catch this trio.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real returns to the Abbey Theatre on Saturday night. Touring in support of his first full-length album, the son of the Red Headed Stranger is gaining notoriety for his live show, adding major festivals and opening gigs across the country at a rapid rate.

The Derailed Saloon doesn’t often get too many regional/national types of acts, opting more often than not to promote local musicians. Tonight (April 21) is different, as Austin’s MilkDrive comes to town for a free, 8 p.m. gig. A self-proclaimed progressive alt-folk acoustic string band, MD is comprised of Noah Jeffries (guitar), Dennis Ludiker (mandolin), Brian Beken (fiddle) and Matt Mefford (bass) – all of whom are award-winning musicians. Their debut, “Road From Home,” captures their soulful, textural, multi-layer mix of rhythms, improvisation and harmony.

The Derailed also hosts a benefit for cancer patient Fawn Lofton at 6 p.m. Saturday. The event features appetizers, live music, a silent auction, a raffle for a trip to Las Vegas, plus live music from Joel Racheff and a rock ‘n’ roll dance party with Freeplay.

Wanna be a DJ? Show up to KDUR’s DJ application meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in 140 Noble Hall at Fort Lewis College.

The Summit schedule for the week features DJ Evan & Tyler at tonight’s Thirsty Thursday; the well-named, new local band Ten Cent Raise on Friday; a big hip-hop event including The Mic Type with Solar One, Mane Rok & the Diabolic Sound Platoon on Saturday, plus regular events like Tuesday’s open mic/jam session and DJ Double D’s karaoke/gong show Wednesday.

This week’s Starlight slate includes DJ Caliente during tonight’s Salsa Night, the Jelly Belly Boogie Band rockin’ it at tomorrow’s FAC at 6 p.m.; Treason spinning tunes at 9 p.m. Saturday; Musica del Mundo at 9 p.m. Sunday; and karaoke at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Elsewhere: Giant’s Dance brings Celtic to tonight’s weekly Ska-B-Q (bodhráns and Mexican Loggers? Why not.); Tumblin’ Dice rocks The Balcony from 6 ‘til 10 p.m. Friday; Black Velvet is at Desperado’s Bar & Grill at 6 p.m. Friday; Kirk James plays solo blues at Vallecito’s Schank House from 7 - 11 p.m. Friday; Pete Giuliani does a solo, acoustic happy hour at El Rancho at 5 p.m. Friday; and The Hank hosts “Fridge or Dare,” a two-act farcical comedy created by Charlie Greybill, at 8 p.m. Sunday.

This week’s Top Shelf list features my prediction for the NBA finals; first-round games began last weekend: Thunder vs. Heat, with the Evil Empire from South Beach prevailing in six. •

They all become Volvo-driving soccer moms? Email me at



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows