I think my kid has been playing soccer now for about six or seven years. In all that time, I think I’ve missed maybe a handful of games. Mostly they were tournaments where the team had to travel and stay in hotels.
It’s not like I’m too cheap to spring for a couple of nights at the local Holiday Inn or anything. I think it’s that feeling I get that even though my ex-wife is remarried to a pretty nice guy, there’s still something inside of me that thinks it’s tawdry for the both of us to be staying under the same roof, no matter how big that roof is.
Combine that with the fact that some of the parents like to unwind at the hotel bar after the games and, well, let’s just say I’d rather not take a chance and run off at the mouth about the past. Whoever said it was better to let sleeping dogs lie had a point.
Well she’s coming down the stairs,
Combin’ back her yellow hair
And I ain’t gonna be treated this ol’ way
During all those years standing on the sidelines, I’ve seen almost every type of weather imaginable. I’ve been pelted by hail and drenched by rain. I’ve sought shelter during thunderstorms and felt the sweat drip off me in buckets during the middle of the summer. I’ve had the wind whip through me like I wasn’t there and felt the humidity make the air so thick I thought I could chew on it.
I’ve dried the tears after a loss and watered down many an ego after a victory. I’ve watched her blood being spilled after she caught a ball to the face and iced down many a sprain. I’ve worked countless hours doing drills with her that at my age I have no business doing.
At times, I’ve gotten up way too early and at others, stayed out way too late and all for what? To watch of bunch of prepubescent girls kick a ball around?
And ya know what, I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.
Well she went up to her room
where she sang her fateful tune
Well I’m goin’ where
those chilly winds don’t blow
My ex and I usually attend all the games that are held locally. She brings her lawn chair and sometimes her knitting. She congregates with all the other soccer moms and talk about who knows what. I’m guessing it’s about school, recipes, family matters or politics. I don’t know for sure because those of us who are soccer dads aren’t allowed in that tight little circle. We usually assume our post at one end of the field and talk about the game itself or what the Buckeyes, the Tribe or the the Dawgs did last week. For some reason, teams from Cincinatti don't carry much weight here in Columbus. It’s a pretty safe conversation.
Oh well, small price to pay. I think some of the dads that are married are happy for the relief.
The way things are in the league, the parents are relegated to one side of the field and the coach and the team itself to the other. This way, the coach can do his or her job and not have to get an earful from some of the more vocal parents.
But we all know that there’s at least one in every crowd…
Last night, my kid's team found themselves under matched. That’ll sometimes happen when the kids are that young and let me tell ya, it ain’t pretty to watch. Nobody wants to see a blowout and I think we had gone up something like 7-0 midway through the second half when our coach pulled the kids aside and told them not to shoot anymore. They went into what they call their “two touch” drill and sorta played keep away from the other team for the rest of the game.
That didn’t stop one of the parents from the opposing team from screaming at the referee, blaming the kids for their lousy play and generally becoming a real pain in the ass. By the time the game was over, she and her husband's antics were such that they had about a twenty yard radius all to themselves.
There’s this theory that some folks have that animals can somehow sense earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters and that when they do they know when to head for safer ground.
Last night, I think I know how one of those animals felt. As every minute passed I found myself wandering further and further away from them. Something inside of me wanted to tell them to shut the hell up but I didn’t want to see myself as a subject for the news at 11:00 or on the cover of the local paper this morning.
I sure felt sorry for her kid though.
Last night was the first game of the season. Before it started, the coach named two captains for the entire year. This differed from the practice of other years when they rotated the captains on a game by game basis. I guess that those touchy feely everybody gets a trophy days are gone.
My kid was named one of the captains and she’s pretty proud of it.
In a way so was I but when you get right down to it, for all the crap that I mentioned earlier that I pretend to put with just to indulge her soccer jones, she’s the one doing the real work..
And she’s the one who deserves the credit.
Congrats little one, pops is proud of ya!
And always will be…
(Lyrics lifted from a traditional tune called “Cold Rain and Snow” but I got ‘em from the good ol’ Grateful Dead.)