We watched Elise cross the stage with friends on Saturday, turn her tassel, and set her eyes on college. Spirited and memorable speeches. Friends and family and fried chicken. A day to recognize a 13-year race finally won. And a new one to begin.
Friends and family dropped by for fellowship and fruit and cheese and frames.
The word for today, frame, took up two tables on Sunday. Grandparents and aunts and uncles got their pick of photos of Elise. Soccer Elise, prom dress Elise, Elise in a burgundy dress in the falling leaves at Frank Liske Park.
It’s in the teams I coach. It’s in my teammates at work (of whom I’m old enough to be a big brother.) It’s constant, with my girls. Especially its evident on graduation day. One hundred-three seniors let fly their caps on Saturday, and look where one landed?
Grace served as an enthusiastic (and sassy) human hanger for Elise’s cap and gown.
Youth’s also still within me. I might creak and groan when I get up. Maybe I can’t cover ground the way I once did. I’m just as good once as I ever was, as the song goes. At times, I’m an old car with a fresh tank of gas, and that’s good to go.(That’s Elise, by the way, in the background, in the peach dress.)
It’s why I love them. I love them most from a position NOT as the No. 1 seed. If you’re the top team in the playoffs, your road, theoretically, starts out easy. No. 1 seeds play No. 4 seeds or No. 16s or whoever just made it in to the tournament.
And that’s the most dangerous team to play.
I love coaching or rooting for that No. 4 seed or No. 16s who get paired up with the team that’s supposed to go home with medals. The thing about tournaments and fate: Tournaments and fate don’t give a !@#$! what seed you are. You’re all 0-0, and let’s get this thing going.
Even if you just hear about them. I recently wrote 11 questions for a youth soccer coach. Quietly, I don’t officially have a team for this fall. It’s the first time since Swedish tennis player Anna Holmstrom finished fourth in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.
So, it’s been a while.
I wrote the questions for the next generation of youth soccer coaches. Dudes with accents and pointy hair and fantastic calves tend to infiltrate the sidelines of those of us out of Generation X, we of graying roofs and middle-age spread.
I asked my girls if they would do it too, on their Instagrams. They objected. “No one does that, dad,” one kid snarled. “Except for nerds.” The look on her face demonstrated that she realized who she was dealing with – and what I am.
I like the idea of this challenge, even though I’ll take the rest of them on my cruddy Coolpad Android (Marie took this one with her iPhone.)
It’s Elise’s letter of intent to play soccer at Warren Wilson College in the fall. I’m so proud of her. Coach Lydia drove to Matthews from Swannanoa to sign Elise officially. We had lunch (enchiladas!) and a long, wonderful conversation with coach afterward.
Your life will change. How much depends on you. It’ll force early hair loss, or high blood pressure, perhaps. Or, it will reveal the character and strength you never knew existed. Seriously, few things in this life will stir your soul like coaching your kid in soccer.
Seriously, few things in this life could scar your kids like coaching your kid in soccer.
Probably I’ve stomped my last sideline for a while. It’s not over for sure, but … I’ll call it an involuntary coaching walkabout. Well-timed, though. Camdyn will play 30 minutes away, Hayden 45, and Madison a two-hour drive away.
Two years ago, I held a kid selfie contest here on the CD. The rules were simple: Send in a selfie your child took with your phone. It must be there already; no staged shots for the contest. (It’s the honor system, and Smoky the Bear will know if you break the rules.)
Send your photos to email@example.com, by Friday, June 3. I’ll post entrants on Go Ask Daddy for June 10, and open the contest to an open poll. I’ll determine a winner by June 17. The winning kid will receive a prize package valued at a minimum $3.
We – by ‘we’ I mean us, as in me and you readers and writers – had a bit of a reputation.
Many six-words prompts for a segment of 6 Words post history contained comfort items, mainly wine, chocolate, and pizza. The Trinity of Indulgences, you might say. Have some downtime? Wine. Have some alone time? Chocolate. Have any time? Pizza.
Indulgences sponsor parental warfare – let’s not get it crooked.
Our friend, Janine, writes the blog Confessions of a Mommyaholic. She blogged recently of her own mommy indulgences and even furnished a printable Do Not Disturb sign. This sign bore the symbols of mommy indulgence – smartphones, sweets and the like.
Janine’s post got me thinking about dad indulgences.
We count down the days ‘til it starts. We long for it in the depths of winter. Give us sun and sand, sleeping in and summer vacation. I’ve never been on board. Cooling autumn winds, short days and chilly nights sustain my soul the way the sun does others’.
You know this if you’ve ever visited this blog. You also know that I’ll never paint my face at a game or defend a team’s honor with fisticuffs or waste any time watching ESPN SportsCenter. (Thanks, Disney.) No, my love of sports resides on a higher plane.
Give me rivalry and pageantry. Give me team colors, matchups, human stories.
Give me a team not expected to compete, in a state playoff game against a conference rival that’s taken them lightly. Watch them pronounce their arrival with spirited play and tenacity. That’s what the girls’ high school team did Thursday.