I try not to wander through life with too many regrets. As I hopefully gain some wisdom with age, I’ve found that most of the times, it’s just easier to just let things go and carry on than it is to dwell on certain matters. After all, nobody’s keeping score and the only ones you really have to answer to are yourself, your family and a few close friends.

This weekend, I fucked up…or at least I think I did. Allow me to explain…

The wee one has been all into soccer these last few years. While she’s probably not the best player on her team, nobody can question her effort. She’s one of those kids who gets to practice early and never bitches (well, not too much) about what position she’s been thrown into or the amount of time she gets to spend on the field. Back when I was her age, there was a name for kids like that. They were a so-called “coaches dream” who would do anything he or she said without hardly a question. If there was such a thing as a blue collar player who just brown bagged their lunch everyday and did their job without question, she’d be it. She’s been at it for about four years now…

Anyway, this weekend there was a soccer tournament for teams from around the state that was being held a couple of hundred miles away. All of the girls and their respective families were staying in hotels nearby and since most of them don’t come from a single parent household, I’m sure there was no hassle about rooms and who was staying with who. I on the other hand, felt differently.

See, it’s not like I don’t get along with my ex, it’s just that some situations might be deemed awkward and this might have been one of them. After all, she’s remarried to a pretty nice guy and he was taking the trip and I felt as if I’d have put a damper on the whole deal. As matter of fact, as far as ex-spouses go, we haven’t had too many run-ins over the years. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our share of flareups but after hearing from some other folks in similar circumstance and their war stories, I figure we both got off lucky.

I just couldn’t imagine what the dinner conversation might’ve been like or what might have popped out of my mouth had my lips been loosened by that demon alcohol. I figured my kid didn’t need to be exposed to any potential difficulties and I decided to sit this dance out and stay at home. It was one of those situations where I thought everybody would be better off and hey, there’s always more games to come right?

She got back yesterday and I asked her how things went. I’ll recount as best I can…

Me: “Hey honey, how did you guys do?”

She: “Uhm, okay I guess. We won our first game but lost the other two.”

Me: ”Did you have fun?”

She: ”Yeah, I scored our first goal in the first game! You shoulda seen it!”

Me: flabbergasted

I’ve been going to her games for close to four years and had never seen her score. She’s come close and hit the post once or twice and had an assist or two along the way but never put a crinkle in the onion bag herself.

/me wanders off to the fridge to pull out a cold one…

Me: “You’re kidding! That’s fantastic, tell me about it!”

She: ”Well, Taylor made an awesome corner kick and the goalie jumped out to get it but it flew over her hands and I headed it in.”

I don’t know about you but I can still recall my glory days when I was a youth. Soccer wasn’t that big a deal here in the States back then and football was all the rage. I remember being about her age in the fifth grade and we were thrown in with kids that went up to the eighth grade. Naturally, we were smaller and got less playing time than some of our older teammates but I was thrown in on the kick-off return team and I’ll be damned but one of the first times that I touched the ball in an actual game I ran it back for a touchdown. Sometimes I think that I can still hear the cheers of the crowd and feel my teammates still patting me on the back. I guess good memories die hard.

That was over thirty five years ago. I guess there are some things that you never forget. I know that there’s probably some misdirected pride in their somewhere but hey, what can you do?

Anyway, I made her tell me the story over and over again and her eyes lit up each time she told it. It was if it had come to life on its own and the details got more and more explicit with each recounting. Soon afterwards, she said she was tired and wandered off to bed. After our usual nighttime ritual of “’Night, nights” and “Sweet dreams”, I wandered back downstairs.

I thought to myself, “I missed it. I fuckin’ missed it because of my stupid fuckin’ pride and my stupid fuckin’ ego. Now all I’ll have is a vague picture in my mind about what actually happened but unless you’re actually there, you have to rely on second hand accounts."

When it comes to my kid, I’m better than that…

Or at least I thought I was…

Never again

I shoulda been there…