Pellets of Doom

I think Cute W and I suffer from constant low-level anxiety about concussions from soccer for M. Watching this NBC News story pretty much had me breathing into a paper bag, and when showed it to M she said, “I wish I’d never seen this.”  Although in that story, you’ve got to figure that there’s a terrible coach involved, and the parents seem crazy. I think we’d probably tell M she must wear a headguard after one concussion, and two concussions might mean no more soccer.  Cute W bought a head guard from Full 90, but so far she isn’t wearing it. I’d love for the coaches of her various teams to strongly urge some particular headgear so that it becomes what everybody does, and it seems like that might happen soon.

But meanwhile, there’s a whole new health scare lately. Just over a month ago, there was a story about how artificial turf might be linked to cancer, especially among soccer goalies, who spend quite a bit of time diving into it. The story starts dramatically with a chemo nurse noticing that she’s hooked up four soccer goalies within the week. If you’ve been on turf lately, you’ll notice that there are all of these little black dots. Apparently, goalies get these caught in their clothes and hair and end up both inhaling them and swallowing them in the course of play. Wow, that’s pretty horrifying, right?

So, it’s getting colder outside, and M’s doing more play on turf. The other day I saw her shoes lying around, a bit like this:



Do you see that? There are little black dots all over the place! Oh, my gosh. I grabbed the dust buster and sucked those Cancer Nuggets right up. In fact, my usual first impulse when there’s a mess is to document it (like the time J cut her own hair or when I dropped the butter dish), but in this case, I was in full-on panic mode. I got rid of the Pellets of Doom immediately. So, of course, when I wanted to write about it, I had to re-enact the scene. Luckily it was easy as taking a letter opener to the grooves on the bottom of her cleats. Wait, luckily!? That means that those extra Bonus Cancer Nuggets have been nestling in my closet for a week, like little Trojan Fleas. I came to this realization as I was digging the Nugget-Pellet-Fleas out of her shoes and scattering them on the floor for this photo. And then my cat ambled up and began sniffing the unidentified objects. “AWAY!” I shrieked.

Since the cleats discovery, it appears that my daughter has been inadvertently sowing Cancer Seeds to blossom and grow throughout our house.  And not just our house: also, our car:



So, that’s awesome.

I’m really still not as panicked about Cancer Nuggets as I am about possible concussions. And meanwhile, M’s little sister cheerfully reports that she’s learning to do back handsprings on the balance beam.

Maybe there’s something about the tangibility of these little Pellets of Doom. I see them, and I leap into action, vanquishing the scourge. If only every threat were so vulnerable to the vacuum cleaner.


  1. Erin T

    OMG. I had no idea about this. My 7 year old is about to start spending quality time at Afrim’s. Thanks for sharing!

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