This weekend marked the opening weekend of soccer season for my daughters' league. My oldest is beginning her fourth year of soccer while my youngest ran out onto the pitch for the first time on Saturday. As soccer commissioner, or as I like to call it, soccer czar, it's my responsibility to make certain the fields are ready to go every Saturday.
My ordinary routine is to get up before dawn and go for a run around the neighborhood, then wolf down breakfast and head over to the church to unlock gates, put out signs and get everything ready for the morning rush.
There is something uniquely peaceful about athletic fields in the early morning hours before a single player has stepped onto the field. The wet grass, the chalk lines and the flags are all in harmony.
I come back again late in the day to break down the fields and pick up the trash and everything else that was left behind. In the morning there's a feeling of optimism from looking ahead to what promises to be a great day. In the evening it's a tad more somber picking up what's been lost and thrown away.
That being said, there's usually some humor to be found in the evening. This past Saturday I picked up soccer balls and water bottles left behind by the kids (not at all unusual). I also found an umbrella left in the fence (it was sunny and there was no shade on that field). Then I found some odd items: some folding chairs and a fairly new pair of sneakers and socks. I don't understand leaving a chair -- I mean, you were just sitting in it. And the shoes? The strangest find of the day was a set of car keys. How someone managed to leave those laying around beneath the bleachers I'll never understand. I'm thinking walking out to the car and not being able to get in would be a clue that you left something behind.