After a season of grit and a whoopin’ or two, we made the state playoffs. They assigned us in Round 1 to a remote outpost: East Wilkes. That’s in Ronda, N.C. That’s not a lady, that’s a town, although there was probably a handful of women named Ronda about.
We lost 8-4 in a crazy match that included eight goals from one player – and a view into the valley so breathtaking that I said, Damn, son, that’s a helluva view you guys have up here to the kid serving as ball-boy for the match.
I was grateful for one last game. I was grateful Remmi made it, hobbling in on crutches but in good spirits. I was grateful we fought back to within three, twice. I was grateful for the annoying siren they turn on when they score only rang out … well, eight times.
It’s a good thing when you’re a dad. As they’ve gotten younger, they don’t come to me for hand-warming much anymore. Maybe they outgrew it. Maybe they gained the gift of warming coils in their hands like dad’s – who knows?
In junior high, a girl once touched my hand during lunch.
I know, right? It’s true though. She couldn’t get over how soft and smooth my hands were. That was cool and all. She was touching my hand, for Boy George’s sake! But then teenage me began to wonder if she took it as a sign of weakness.
Tuesday was such a day. If you’d told me I’d cry some of my happiest and saddest tears in the same day – some in the same hour – I’d have, well, been eager to see how. I’d have never guessed. It began with a soccer match, on a senior day.
It ended with tears in silence as I learned all I could about a shooting at my alma mater.
In between, the day’s events intertwined and intersected. This is what I meant by my Y post yesterday. Time spent away from writing is time spent creating the writing through living. I can’t say it was a bad day and I can’t say it was a good one, either.
When the kids say something about subs at a soccer match, my mind goes to steak and cheese. Or turkey and avocado. It’s just how it is and I can’t change it. But the distraction is mostly temporary.
When I sub a kid into a game, it gives us a bit of a forum to talk that we don’t normally get.
You’re my mom’s favorite coach, but not my dad’s one girl told me. A new player told me how nervous she was to get in. Hayden didn’t spend a lot of time there, but as she waited to go back in after getting her first yellow card, we both tried not to snicker too loud.
We do #gratitudeandshit around here. Why not #kickasskindness? Kindness kind of gets a bad rap. Like, me, in middle school, when someone started the rumor that I curled my hair. Psh. It spreads like wildfire. Or negative Yelp! reviews.
People equate kind with weak. But that’s not always so. That’s why I like when one of my players trucks another player then helps her up. That’s sweet, right? It’s like, not in my neighborhood, !@#$!, then, you okay, sister?
Even though sometimes it feels that way. A friend in need recently asked if I could just put the Zen on a shelf and be pissed off with her. Yes, I can. My girls’ team said, coach, you know, you can be pissed at us sometimes. We need that.
Oh, I’ve been pissed at them.
I’ve been mad at my team not for bad results, but subpar effort. I’ve been ticked at dudes who are crap puddles to female friends of mine. I’m angry about the Rockies’ rocky start and that if Kobe Bryant farts, it gets the headline over any Denver Nuggets victory.
Literally and figuratively. Before last night, I hadn’t written in it for weeks. Also, the back cover has fallen off. There are about five pages left in her, and it looks like it spent a season getting kicked around on Gilligan’s Island.
Gratitude is easy to come back to, it seems.
It wasn’t as if I’d abandoned #gratitudeandshit. It’s part of every day. It just wasn’t getting written down. So I had some old things in there. Things such as, I’m grateful for new episodes of Silver Spoons and I’m grateful for my new calculator watch.
Arrival, because I’d finally made it somewhere. Arrival, because you know, things are different for me now. Arrival, because of the Couch to 5K I’m doing, the streak of consecutive days of meditation, and doing much better at work.
A is, instead, for almost.
Almost, as in, I haven’t run for a week. (I almost typed ‘haven’t been able to run, but my shoes are in the car. I had an opportunity yesterday, and other days this week.) Almost, as in I almost missed yesterday for meditation.
Not the Dollar General one. The one that goes to my work computer. It’s an Apple MacBook Pro charger. It costs about the same as the Pittsburgh Pirates payroll. I left it plugged in in the media tent during All-Star weekend. (I was hungry and distracted.)
I bought a replacement at a lower cost – about the same as the payroll of the Kansas City Royals, for comparison.
It’s not as fast and fancy. But it works. Thing is, I need to keep plugged in almost always, so I don’t get distracted and hungry and wind up with 7% battery and 37 stories to write. I can also plug my iPhone into this little charger that could.
I wanted to call one, once. We’d taken a 1-0 lead against the state championship runners up from last season. They’d beaten up on us for years. But today, as we broke for halftime, we were up 1-0.
“Guys,” I said, “look casual, but let’s see if we can get to the parking lot without anyone noticing us …”
The girls laughed. We thought if we could sneak away now … well, they couldn’t score on us, could they? We lost 3-1. But that moment proved we’d reached a level we’d strived for. For years, really. We were good enough to get ahead of a bitter rival.