Dad in the Box

The Last Game

My daughter recently played the last soccer game of her career.  
 
Yippee!  No more practices!  No more tournaments!  No more long drives to obscure fields!  No more tiny black turf pellets all over the car!
 
No more selfish surges of pride watching her athletic achievements.  No more thrilling victories.
 
My daughter is a senior in high school and has no intention of playing in college.  And so, thirteen years of soccer ended in one final game.  
 
 
Her team lost. 
 
Since most soccer seasons end in some sort of tournament play, a loss is to be expected.  Only a handful of players get to win their league or division or state championship in one final game. Sadly, for most players their last game is more a question of when and where they will lose. 
 
Oh well.  At least some of the girls on the other team have a chance for another last game.
 
My daughter started playing soccer when she was four.  The Sunday youth games were sardine-packed on a large open grassy area with tiny red cones marking off miniature playing fields lined with screaming parents hopelessly coaching their kids which way to run. 

 
It was the only time I can remember when excitable parents didn’t yell at the referees.  I’m not even sure there were referees then.  I certainly don’t remember any four-year-olds getting yellow carded.  
 
For a long time my daughter’s soccer matches were indistinguishable from games of kick the can.  They were nothing more than a wadling herd of young tots running willy nilly after a ball that seemed to arbitrarily change directions.  A lot of the kids stopped to pick dandelions.
 
But each year she played more form came to the game.  The girls developed foot skills, they learned how to pass, how to look for open space, how to give and go, how to one touch the ball, how to ignore their parents yelling useless instruction from the sidelines.
 
And each year the practices became longer and more frequent.  The games against other towns grew further apart.  The competition turned more impactful.  The coaches more demanding. The player expectations more intense.  
 
All of a sudden, there was no longer any room for dandelion pickers, even if they still wanted to play.  
 
She had to run to keep up.  Soccer camps, indoor winter leagues, training seminars, summer leagues.  It was an entire industry of competitive youth soccer designed to take money from parents like me who wanted to ensure their kids remained competitive in an increasingly competitive sport.
 
But for active girls like my daughter, who loved to run hard, the endless opportunities to play soccer were both fun and rewarding.
 
As she progressed from year to year, I was of little help.  I know almost nothing about the game.  I still think the pitch belongs to baseball.  And despite a remarkable ability to drink beer, as a soccer fan, I wouldn’t even make a good hooligan.  
 
But thankfully there were coaches to guide and train her.  At first, they were ordinary dads like me who possessed qualities I didn’t have.  Qualities like athletic ability, patience, and the willingness to deal with opinionated parents.  Later, the coaches were experienced players who really understood the game.
 
But there was one thing I was good at that helped her career along.   Driving.   Because in addition to shin guards and a good pair of soccer cleats, young players also need car rides to play the game.  And to get to some remote fields, car rides in off-road vehicles.  
 
In those early years I had only one ambition for my daughter.  I wanted her to experience the joy of team play when she arrived at high school.  While other parents talked strategically about the various paths to college athletic scholarships, I just wanted my daughter to make her high school team.
 
If she had any soccer ambitions after that, well, she would just have to drive herself.
 
Ultimately all of her years of dedication, hard work, and natural talent, paid off.  With the help of my driving, she did make her high school team.  And she played a lot.  As a starter.  And ultimately, as a team captain.  And she enjoyed all of the excitement and pride and camaraderie that comes with playing on an established, organized team.
 
Until her game clock ran down to 00:00.  
 
She cried when it was over.  They were tears of joy and tears of loss and maybe even tears of relief.
 
But the tears did not last long.  Because lacrosse practice starts soon.  And there is still time to run hard toward another last game.
 
I guess that after thirteen years as a soccer dad, I still have time to play my last game too.
 
In a remote field somewhere picking dandelions.
 
 
Have a comment?  Email me at john.christmann@dadinthbox.com

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Summit

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_10459d34c78ebca2c8c6_6b7eee3a544a7a60f23a_storytime

Tue, December 12, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Mother Goose Storytime

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education

Carousel_image_6444b2860379519c6551_7dbed4afa6a4130c7286_angel_tree_6

Tue, December 12, 12:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit YMCA Holiday Angel Tree

Giving Back

Carousel_image_f63f55b3ad0e7b6e27c7_logo

Tue, December 12, 7:00 PM

Kleespies Horowitz and Associates, Clark

KHA Hosts Free Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning ...

Summit Police Blotter

December 11, 2017

1/28 - At 0546 hours a report was taken for a burglary to a Beechwood Road business. The incident occurred at approximately 0440 hours where the suspect removed a cash register and ten (10) packs of Kool Cigarettes. The suspect was described as a white male, with a chin-strap beard, wearing a beanie cap, a light hooded sweatshirt, and black shoes. Total value of the stolen items was approximately ...

Video: Point View's Tells BNN Tax Reform Remains a 'Show Me' Issue

December 10, 2017

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on BNN discussing recent moves in the market because of tax reform expectations:

bnn.ca

For nearly 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive financial ...

Atlantic Health System's Dr. Mohamad Cherry Leads Meeting Session of Multiple Studies at Top International Blood Cancer Conference

Mohamad Cherry, MD, will lead a major session on new discoveries about the most common type of acute adult leukemia and help present results of four major blood cancer studies at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) 59th Annual Meeting, December 9-12 in Atlanta, GA.  The meeting is the world’s pre-eminent gathering of clinicians and researchers focused on blood diseases, who travel ...

Favor Value Over Growth for 2018

Pricey growth stocks have been all the rage in 2017, running circles around cheaper value plays. We believe that one of the most powerful forces in investing, reversion to the mean, may cause value stocks to outperform in 2018.  Position your portfolio accordingly.

Understand the Difference Between Value and Growth

Growth stocks are typically more expensive than value stocks.

Ain't That Grand?

Hometown Gal Comes Back to Hilltop City, Brings a Bit of 'Southern Hospitality' to Summit's Most Hospitable Address

Maybe you can go home again, after all.

Katie Ogden is a shining example that proves that twist on an age-old adage.

After seven years in Memphis, Ogden is home in the Hilltop City and she has found a new work home as well, recently becoming the front desk manager at the Grand Summit Hotel.

And, if there's a smidgen of a 'twang' seeping into the welcomes, can I help ...

The Floor Plan

For Luxury and Durability, Make LVP Your MVP

Combine durable vinyl with the realistic look of wood in a plank format and you have a surface that offers the best of all worlds, one that is the perfect flooring solution for any room in your home.

Luxury Vinyl Plank -- or 'LVP' flooring is:

Water Resistant
Durable
Soft Underfoot
Easy Care
Budget Friendly

Unlike natural woods, LVP can be used in areas where ...

AtlantiCast: Episode 008

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll learn about a groundbreaking new clinical trial in the fight against pancreatic cancer, meet an award-winning child neurologist at Goryeb Children’s Hospital and hear about the new Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center at Atlantic Orthopedic Institute – plus stay tuned at the end to see our debut episode of the AtlantiCast Medical ...

Investors Bank October 2017 Fed Normalization Process

The Federal Reserve has increased interest rates twice this year and could do so again in December.  But the economy is hardly booming along and inflation remains tame.  Are the central bankers crazy?  No!  They simply are trying to add some monetary policy arrows to their largely empty quiver.

The near collapse of the world financial system in 2008, forced the Fed to take ...

Don't Let 'Old Man Winter' Drive You Crazy: Follow This Handy Seasonal Car Care Checklist

As if driving during nasty, cold conditions is not enough of a challenge, having 'car trouble' in the wintertime can be about as much fun as the farcical examples used in a satellite television provider commercial that pokes fun at the cable companies... you know, like getting paper cuts on your tongue, getting your arm caught in a vending  machine, spilling hot coffee ...

The Thought that Counts

The other day I was talking to our cat . . .  

Hmmm.  It says here that dogs are smarter than cats.

What are you reading, Mad Magazine?

No seriously, this article in the Times claims that a scientific study conducted at Vanderbilt University recently discovered that dogs have twice as many neurons as cats in the analytic part of their brains.

Yeah, but they only use a ...