#AtoZChallenge: I is for In This Moment

in lede
photo credit: Construction of The Death Cube Mk. I via photopin (license)

I color with 64 crayons.

II mean this figuratively. Such an array makes for incredible detail, contrast, depth. It’s also maintenance. It’s lost time sharpening crayons. It’s keeping them all in the box, and just enough in each of four compartments. You know what I’m talking about.

It’s exhilarating, and also exhausting.

So exhausting that sometimes I envy guys who color with eight crayons. Say what you will about limited options; sometimes, the simplicity outweighs the complexity. Complexity becomes complex, sometimes. I’m destined for 64; at times, I’d like to pick the eight out of the box and run.

Know whose lives aren’t this jumble of brick red, burnt orange, and goldenrod? Kids.

The littler, the wiser.

They felt younger because I felt simpler

I coached a U15 girls’ team. We were called the Muleicorns. Muleicorns happen when a mule loves a unicorn. This team with a ridiculous nickname managed to ramble through a season unbeaten. Late in the season, when tension mounted, I turned up at the field early.

I wanted to see the littles play.

Their shin guards went all the way up to their shorts, which came all the way down past their socks. Numbers on the back of their jerseys tucked halfway away into their shorts. When one fell, they all fell. Some giggled, some cried.

In those few minutes watching them, I didn’t worry about a thing.

They all played and loved it in the end, mostly because – snacks. In those few minutes watching them, I didn’t worry about a thing. Not about life. Not about uncertainty. Not about sadness. Not about coaches who tried cruddy tactics to be the first to beat us.

Not about the possibility that we’d finally run out of steam, short of winning a championship. It’s not easy running in front wire-to-wire.

The girls on my U15 team that day were still U15. They felt younger because I felt simpler. My daughters surpassed my apparent ability to coach them. They play for others now, developing skills and achieving feats I couldn’t have imagined as a kid.

A wormhole into your own childhood

Elise hopes to play goalkeeper this fall at Warren Wilson College.

Grace will play two games Saturday against rival teams, and I’ll miss them both.

Elise and I are in Welcome, N.C., to be with Marie for two games in the Southern Soccer Showcase. She’ll play on the state’s No. 12 team, against one ranked fifth. What a show. Time with a child creates this wormhole into your own childhood.

In that company, what isn’t possible?

I could be a ninja turtle or Nerf gun stormtrooper. I can be the multi-colored bobble-headed parrot from Littlest Pet Shop. The real world? Take a number and wait.

It works this way when I coach my U9 kids, a spirited bunch that doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter expectation of club soccer. I love that they don’t.

They rumble and stumble, win and lose, and always put on a good show, too.

Remain in the moment

When we huddle, we huddle close.

We lean in and lean on, we hop and holler, and then we go out and make the other guys wish they were home watching My Little Pony. I’ll also miss their game today. My heart – part of it – will be there.

Remain in the moment.

Could she see the weight of the world and grownup inability to release attachments on my shoulders?

It’s the littlest ones who model this. It happened today when a sweet girl in Burger King waved to me and told me to have a great day. Could she see the weight of the world and grownup inability to release attachments on my shoulders?

That afternoon, another sweet girl hugged me around my right leg, right there on the soccer field.

Did she think I was someone else? No. She didn’t know me, but she did. She hugged with sweet abandon, even shifting her Thumper stuffed toy from one arm to the other to get the best effect. Could she see that I missed someone so badly my arms ached?

Simple as a hug

With eight colors, you might miss an opportunity to pick up a little girl’s Garfield watch and make an instant friend. Or the chance to drop to a knee and be reminded that love isn’t always grand and romantic. Sometimes, it’s simple. Simple as a hug.

If you can remain in the moment.

This post at Just Being Emily inspired this.

moment quote.jpg

Stacy Uncorked

24 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: I is for In This Moment

    1. Thanks Lyn – it felt kind of disjointed, like I didn’t get the point from my mind and soul to the page as well.

      I’ll blame the universe for a lot of circumstance and coincidence, but I also must thank it for crossing my path with that girl’s.

    1. At least don’t detract from the present – it’s impossible to forget the past completely and not worry about the future, but let’s keep it mostly in the moment, Janine.

  1. Brilliant, Eli. It’s our presence of mind that allows to stay in the present and see with the clarity and simplicity of a child. I love watching littles play soccer like a bees around a beehive. Then the ball squirts loose and they’re all on the run to be the next one to kick it whichever way they’re running when they get to it. It’s not MLS. It’s more exciting than that.

    1. Thanks Eric. Emily’s post about that boy really stuck with me a while. There’s a difference between childlike and childish, and the second is enormously easier than the first.

      We just need, at all levels, to just let them play and let the game be the teacher. A coach is there to guide and demonstrate, then get the hell out of the way.

      1. Exactly. I’ve seen coaches so intense they’re nearly on the pitch playing for the kids. You’re right, we’re there to guide and demonstrate and then it’s up to them. Thanks for leading me to Emily’s post. I totally get what children can inspire within us grown folk.

  2. “and a child shall lead them…”
    So honest, pure, the awe is real. I’d like to bottle all that wonder up and soak the world. It’s not an accident that it’s my kids who mostly teach me to be in the Now.

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