Tuesday, November 16, 2010

See ya' next season

And so it ends.

Another soccer season has come and gone. It seems like just yesterday we were gathered together laying out fields and putting together rosters. Now, as the chill of autumn pushes the warmth of summer away for a few months, I have more time on my hands.

No more soccer practice on Thursdays. No more prepping fields on Fridays. No more games on Saturdays. No more taking down flags and goals on Saturday nights. No more watching my three- and four- and five-year olds learning new skills and honing their old ones.

For four months out of the year I run the soccer program at my daughters' church. It's a lot of work - and a lot of headache. It's also a lot of fun.

The sight of soccer fields in the early morning hours, before the kids and SUV's arrive, is so calming to the soul. The sight of a youngster finally breaking through and scoring his first goal is inspiring. The sight of my daughters dressed in gold running and playing and smiling is precious.

My dad coached my soccer team the last year I played. He didn't know much about soccer. He had watched us play growing up and decided to be a coach. Looking back, it was pretty cool to play for my dad. He'd leave work early to get home and get us to practice. He did it because he knew playing soccer was something I loved to do.

Over the last four years I've had the opportunity to coach both of my daughters. My oldest played for another coach for the first time this year. To stand on the sideline and watch her play, not as a coach, but as a doting father, was a wonderful experience.

Like everyone else, my dad is getting older and his health isn't as good as it once was. I know that someday he'll be gone, but those memories will always live on -- baseball games, backyard barbecues and coaching.

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