Labor Day weekend generally means a ton of Fall soccer. that means get your damned wheels on. continue to make the runs even if you don’t get the ball every time, because sooner or later, you will and then you have to shake them off your shoulder and go to the box. then, of course, leave something there.
when you get your opportunity, you don’t waste it, you make your run. hope you find a finish. soccer is life.
lafayette #19 runs on the corner kick.
fun weekend of round ball on the ground, soccer in the Cincy area as the boys from Lexington decided to go ahead and win the whole damned tournament. in roughly 280 minutes of soccer, the allowed one goal and that was in the final to the current Kentucky State Cup champion Kings Hammer Academy…nice slice of revenge to beat them soundly, 3-1. but more importantly, an apt birthday present for a kid who has truly put in one hellacious amount of soccer work over the spring and summer. this shot serves as the final photo of year 13. a gold medal around the neck, a smile at the car door, a twinkle of something accomplished in the eye. what you can’t see in the photo is me, behind the camera, proud, happy for him and his team but with a twinge of sadness as the moments of boyhood continue to dissolve right before my eyes. he grows in every way, every day.
happy birthday to us.
it’s one of the oldest cliches in the world really, “you have to have goals!” it’s a mantra that is delivered to kids day in and day out as we try and give them a reason to want more, to achieve more, to do those things we didn’t, wouldn’t or probably, couldn’t do. this cliche is never more overused than when putting kids into a competitive sports environment. it’s as if adults have unlocked the key to athletic prowess and that key is the act of setting goals. i’m no different, totally guilty of these mindless cheerleading sessions that are meant to motivate, sure, but also some sort of batch of statements you make that cement your place as “parent” by extoling some life-lesson we assume a child is too simple to pick-up on his own and i guess we also take for granted that we are telling a kid something that a coach, trainer or any number of feel-good stories that accompany Olympic, NCAA, or just about any other sports broadcasts have failed to mention.
so, then after you have asked a kid to have some goals, to work hard, to do their best, to strive to blah, blah, blah and they do some of those things and they begin to achieve goals they have set for themselves…then what? do we just follow along the same path, again? do we just say, “hey, good job, set some more goals and go get those and do things and stuff and succeed and go, fight win!”? there’s got to be something more we do right? i ask because athletically, academically and even socially i see that goals were set by the boys in my life and they met some of them and they are still growing, changing and maturing and sure, not all of their goals have been met and hopefully they have a stack of truly great things they want to get to in their lives, but how to you nurture a willingness to succeed? and is a large percentage of it totally out of a parent’s hands, my gut says to some extent, yes. you hope you have somehow given them enough to be self-motivated or that just their resentment of your blathering on and on about goals is annoying enough that they are motivated just to shut you up.
either way, here’s to a boy who has had some goals for himself on the soccer field. he achieved one by playing high school soccer in 7th grade and another over the weekend by starting on the Varsity team as a Freshman. i don’t think he’s done setting or achieving yet–but i won’t take any credit for either. he’s doing it. i’m just trying to take some pictures as it happens.
varsity tackle. Saturday, August 10.
I am happy to see small pockets of closeted footie heads pop up here in the buckle of the bible belt. it wasn’t so long ago that the kid an I would watch an El Classico at BW3s without the sound with one other table of interested viewers in the whole place who were generally students at UK who were from Spain. the U.S. performance at the Gold Cup (before you even start, I know, the level of competition was terrible and it was our B+ squad) gives the casual fan something to latch onto, higher scores, NFL style mouthing and shoving and of course, patriotism! don’t get me wrong, whatever gets folks interested enough to watch only helps the sport, the quality of broadcasts and the amount of athletic kids who choose to play soccer in the country instead of baseball. what kid actually could possibly enjoy baseball, like watching paint dry without the ‘riods in the game? but i’m digressing. with no shortage of good beer joints in the town, i’m talking to you @westsixth @thebeertrappe @countryboybrew @lexbeerworks @bluestallionbc @mellowmushlex @pazzospizzapub and @lynaghsirishpub and yes, they all have TVs and yes, they will actually tune them to soccer. there’s finally a local chapter of the American Outlaws even which is something i wanted to happen for half a dozen years. so central kentucky is finally showing some soccer stripes, publicly. sure there were always handfuls of fans watching at home or showing up for early morning world cup games or champions league finals but you get the feeling that it’s okay to show up with a jersey, a scarf, a good beer and raise a little Hell for 90 minutes without looking like a freak in the sea of Miller Lite swilling Big Blue fans waiting around for basketball season while discussing how bad we still are in the SEC in football (the other kind). for once maybe, you can not only drive your kid to soccer practice, you can go out and enjoy a game with like-minded soccer heads. so, if you are one, pledge allegiance, our time has come…?
p.s. shout out to Stu Holden. stay strong, we will be awaiting your imminent return son.