so after nearly 13 years of watching a boy kick around a ball, chapters of youth soccer, club soccer and high school come to an end. the final high school season saw his team “do better than they’ve ever done” only to end with a thud in a game they should have won and extended their season a bit more. it hurt, games hurt, even the good ones, the wins, they even leave marks.
accolades for a job done well. all-state second team, all-city first team, 4th in balloting for player of the year in lexington and i couldn’t be prouder. but i know he disappointed, plagued by more “grown-up” injuries, a low-back issues, pulled groin, sore hamstring, etc. at times just made it a win to be on the field. he’ll never understand how without him out there the team couldn’t have had the success they shared.
for a pop, there’s a dull pain, countless hours on the road, in shitty hotel rooms off the interstates in ohio, north carolina, tennessee, missouri, indiana, illinois, west virginia, virginia and kentucky. eating what vegetarian fare we could find in the middle of nowhere, laughing at youtube videos, giggling at funny walking locals and smiles, tears, cuss words and more than anything, so much love. i love the game, i love watching him play the game, i love how he was able to see that he was good at something, so therefore he might be able to be good at many things.
soccer leaves wounds and scars, the best kind.
with the change of the seasons, the ball begins it’s roll towards goals. off feet, between legs, through the air–not always sure and true but never forgetful of the points that lie in wait.
another year of youth soccer wrapped this past weekend. around 2,200 miles logged through a half dozen states or so. long drives, cheap hotels, craft beers, KindTM bars, grapes, oranges, vegan pizzas, ugly socks and moments. moments of joyful play, painful losses, car naps, good songs and words. sometimes many, sometimes few. boys and pops. i know i am on a count down when it comes to these moments. they grow…UP. boy #1 is job searching, living out of town for stretches, talking about his next life and wants…#2 has school, girl, guitars and a slinging hash at the pool. changes (turn and face the strange). here’s to one less season of soccer, still a few more but i’m remembering to savor all the moments on the ball even if there is another one through.
it’s easy to mouth off in defiance, “ain’t nothing or no one gonna stop me from living my dreams…” but in reality just about everything is set-up in this life to do just that…stop you from living your dreams. but that is where you come in, have the determination to be your own person, set your own sights, and follow through on “you.” it’s gotten a little cliche’ but “you do you” isn’t such a bad message. do you, and push through, you can get there…where ever there is for you.
“Ultimately, sports are just about as close to what one would call the truth as it is possible to get in this world.” –Harry Crews
if you aren’t a fan of sport you probably think all the hyperbole about kinship, brotherhood and soldiers together in battle is just a bunch of nonsense that boys use to justify that somehow playing a game is an important task. having spent more than a little time watching boys play together as a team (i played a little myself even) it’s hard to deny the bond that grows amongst team mates. sure, it can at times be cliqueish, it can be ever-changing, and it doesn’t always happen for all kids. but i know for a fact that when boys go at a singular task together, and really, truly buy-in to caring about each other and have a willingness to fight as hard for their team mate as they would for themselves, that a connection is made that makes for a victory of spirit–that win or lose on the field–makes for pretty special trophies. sports ain’t for everybody, but they should be.
after a huge fall of soccer that included pulling double duty as a starting Varsity high school player as a freshman and helping the club team go undefeated in league play to make the jump up to the next level for spring, the spring has rolled into early summer with reward(s) for all the hard work. a cup, the U.S. Youth Soccer, Kentucky State Open Cup to be exact. for all the success in soccer, the trophies, the medals, the t-shirts, the atta-boys this item has been elusive. but no longer. great coaching, super commitment and a winning, positive mindset are all huge parts of this whirlwind run of the last 10 months. but it’s isn’t over yet…more for sure…
a quick tale of two boys who achieved the first part of a late spring/early summer goal. one (not pictured here) made it to NYC, as an intern at Hearst Publishing, settled into a room at NYC and will spend the next 3 months becoming something he wasn’t before he left Lexington. my heart is full for him. amazed at his guts and talent it took to get himself in the position to be there. he’s already won and doesn’t even know it. the second, pictured above, helped his team make it through the first round of the Kentucky State Cup. his team had a tremendous first weekend, executing 15 goals while giving up zero, zilch, nadda. he finished with a pair of goals and 3 assists on the weekend and some massive center midfield play in some important matches. so for a pair of boys, a nice weekend on the way to bigger missions as the summer progresses. forward they go. i just try and get a few pictures of it.