After 14 years I decided this season would be my last as a volunteer soccer coach. Fourteen years. That is a long time. I could make this post a very, very long one but I won’t. It will only be a long-ish one 😋. Although there were some bumps in the road, the 14 years for the most part were great years. I’d be lying if I wrote that I remember every single detail of these 14 years. I don’t.
When I set out on this adventure, it was innocent enough and really for my son. You want to do right by everyone but eventually you realize you cannot. It is impossible. I don’t have any regrets but certainly I wish I could have done some things differently. You want to be everyone’s friend but you cannot and will not. I definitely learned a lot over the years. From the great moments, to the good moments and also the not so good moments. I definitely made friends over the years but I also made a lot of what I will refer to as FBFFS … fake best friends forever. These are the folks that needed something from me and so either befriended me or family members for motives that were anything but sincere. There are a lot of bad people in this world.. But you know what? To each his own. I am far from perfect but I would rather be me then some of the folks I got to know over these years. From the down right evil, to insecure people who need to be the center of attention, to parents who think it’s ok to trash talk kids because as long as the kid doesn’t hear it, no harm no foul. To bullies and to those parents that supported this bullying. To parents who themselves bullied but poo poo’d when the tables were turned. My biggest disappointment came four years ago when a family we had such a fantastic friendship with over many many years turned out to be less than the people we thought they were. It truly shattered our family. I can go on and on but that would take away the good that came out of all these years as coach. For one, I continue to watch as these kids are growing up to be fine young adults. It’s amazing to see. Many I have known since they were 4-5 years old. As much as you want to be that coach that affected, in a good way, all the players that crossed your path, it doesn’t work out that way but I know that I did so with many. I have had the opportunity to reminisce in recent years with former players and it’s always a great feeling. Four years ago our family had the pleasure of hosting a 14 year old young man for three months during the summer. What a pleasure indeed. So disciplined. So caring. So focused. A truly genuine lad beyond his years who also showed true friendship to my son; unlike some others. We learned a lot from each other; our cultures. It’s something I will forever cherish and remember. I continue to follow his success in football (he’s gotten a scholarship in the US) and I expect to see him one day in the NFL quarterbacking a team all the way to the Super Bowl. No doubt in my mind 😀👍. It was his birthday over the weekend and I wished him well and he sent love our way. Very heartfelt. This is the kind of stuff you live for. The bad, you toss aside. As with anything, quality over quantity. There are alot more moments but if I don’t stop myself this will indeed become a very very long post!
I would be incredibly remiss if I didn’t write about what a great human being my son is. A fine young adult as well. He had to endure a lot over these years. An exceptional player at a very young age, he went through difficult times starting at age 13 when everyone around him was growing but he wasn’t. It became a struggle for him on the pitch and he suffered for it. Both on and off for several years. Many a time he had to endure being collateral damage on account of my being a coach. Very difficult for a kid to go through but he showed strength in overcoming this and we are proud of who he is becoming. In his first year at college last year he made the Dean’s list twice. That’s who he is. We know he will achieve greatness. That’s what matters. A few years ago an ‘adult’ went on this rant on Facebook about heroes and zeroes. He was trying to send a message. It was ridiculous especially coming from him and the hypocrite and bully he is. Well.. Let me tell you, I strive to be a hero to my kids. That’s all that is important to me but in the end for all he had to go through my son is my hero.
I stopped coaching my son three years ago. The plan was to retire then but I was talked into staying on. I wish I hadn’t. The past few years have been an eye opener. my expectations and what actually happened, night and day. At the beginning of this season I made it clear it would be my last. Over these many years I put my heart and soul into this. I worked very hard at it. As a family we sacrificed alot. It’s time now to make our family the center of attention. Yup, it’s actually a very very late wake up call but in the end better late than never.
I think it will happen. On the Saturday Italy was to play Germany I found myself having a conversation about the Euro tournament with some of the Lakeshore PLSQ players prior to our scheduled match…The day i now refer to as “Dark Saturday”.. One player commented that he felt that everything was lining up for Portugal to win it all. He may be right.
I read a tweet yesterday that mentioned that in 1982 Italy won the World Cup after having tied all three of their group stage matches..I don’t necessarily believe there was a comparison being made but i don’t know that you can actually make one. For one, can you really make a comparison to something that happened way back in 1982 ;)? Secondly, the 3 draws for Italy were enough to get them out of the group stage. The same cannot be said for Portugal had the format not changed. Also, in 1982 Italy got better each game after the group stage. I don’t think you can say the same for Portugal …except for one person. Ronaldo. He’s gotten better and for a player of his caliber you knew it was just a matter of time. That’s why you can’t have a team that has CR7 linger in a tournament because you know at one point it will come back to haunt you. He’s just that good. I am a fan of Ronaldo and while he did struggle in the group stage and people shat on him on twitter, i defended him… Not that i have much clout! lol
In one of my earlier posts.. a post i wrote shortly after Italy was eliminated by Germany.. i wrote that i wasn’t sure who to root for but it certainly wouldn’t be Portugal. At the time, the emotions were still high and the anger over Italy being eliminated still present but now that time has healed my wounds (somewhat) i will change my tune and will root for Ronaldo. He deserves it.
Italy lost yesterday at the Euro to Germany in PKs.. I was not able to watch the game. Well, it wasn’t so much that I was not able to but chose instead not to due to my unbelievable sense of obligation. I was committed to being at our scheduled league games and although I was a skip and hop away from my house I opted not to leave when the Italy match started. I did record the match but nowadays it’s almost impossible not to hear or know the result. In any case I couldn’t help myself but look anyway.
Italy fared well in this tournament. Described as the worse team put together for Italy in a long time not many thought they would do well. A lot of people were questioning Conte’s player selection. During a televised show where the whole team was there including Conte, the hostess point blank asked Conte if he thought he selected the best possible players. What a stupid and inappropriate question. Considering the players he selected were present as well. How do you expect him to answer this question? In any case, I think Italy answered that question on the pitch. It’s unfortunate to lose the way they did but that’s how the ball rolls sometimes. Believe it or not I called that Italy would beat Spain as much as I got mocked for it and I also predicted that the Germany game would go to shoot-outs… only I had Italy winning it. Oh well. As I wrote earlier I do have the game recorded but I am not sure if I will watch it. Atleast not immediately.. I am still reeling from it and all the tweets on this subject.
I want to say that at this point I really don’t care who wins it but that would be a lie. It would bother the shit out of me if Portugal wins it. A team that has played uninspired soccer so far.. was not able to win one game in the group stage and yet because of their easy bracket find themselves in the semis no less. Pure garbage.
I feel so gutted for this man…
It will be so weird not seeing him suit up for the national team.
At the beginning of the 2015 season I got a phone call from the technical director of our soccer club. He wanted me to take my daughter’s team for the 2015 season. Quite frankly I was incredibly surprised. So much so that I didn’t give him an answer right then and there. The fact is I was actually looking to move away from coaching altogether.. I had been doing it for so many years. Anyway, the first thing I needed to do was ask my daughter if she would be ok with it. The other reason I found this phone call to be surprising is that this TD’s main mandate and what he always preaches about is that he wants to eliminate (where he can) having parents coaching their own kid. So again imagine my surprise when he called, offered me my daughter’s team and told me it would be a good experience for me AND my daughter. A bit contradictory to his philosophy, no?
Anyway, my daughter was ecstatic about the idea so I jumped on board. I was still apprehensive because I had some big shoes to fill but I decided to take it on. Almost immediately I found out I would lose our two top players to the older age group and that I would not have access to them whatsoever during our season. I won’t lie. I wasn’t too happy with that but that anger lasted a split second. I realized I had a great challenge and opportunity at my hands. Teach this team how to play like a team.
Long story short, I did just that. I got them to believe in themselves individually. I got them to believe that every time they stepped on the field any of the 10 players could score. In fact, unlike previous years it was difficult for our opponents to shut down any one player because at any given match it could be someone else who did the scoring. The proof was in how well the goals were distributed.
I honestly don’t think anyone, including the TD, thought this team would succeed considering the loss of the 2 stronger players. Not only did we succeed, we actually surpassed expectations.. undefeated, 2 goals against, first place and championship. I will go as far as saying that it actually irked some people.
The girls got accolades for their efforts from anyone and everyone… and rightfully so.. I was blessed with being told I was being replaced for the 2016 season. The reasons? As hypocritical as they can get. Pure manure being tossed in my direction. Garbage. I kept reminding the TD that I was a parent on this team before being coach and long enough to see all kinds of shit happen and to boot I was on the board for many years where I heard all kinds of stories about coaches and the nonsense that occurred.. coaches that still coach today..it fell on deaf ears. HYPOCRITE !!! From the club President I got the ‘it’s a thankless job’ email.. ya.. it should be thankless because of the parents .. i mean, let’s face it you will never make EVERY parent happy.. that’s par for the course..it should however, not be a thankless job because of the technical director who should be there to support volunteer coaches and all we do.
The bottom line is that there is this circle that exists.. and I get that this exists everywhere but if you are not in this circle forget about it. It doesn’t matter what u do, how good u do it, how hard you work, if u’re not in, u’re not in. Plain and simple.
Take a look at this nonsense…
One of the things I stressed with the teams over the years of my coaching is the need to respect your opponent. To the girls I always told them that when they stepped on the field, their opponent needed to understand very quickly that they would not be successful in beating us. However, there always had to be respect. When I knew that our opponent was weak I would tell the girls that after a certain amount of goals we’d stop scoring. We would work instead on the areas of our game. That’s how things should be done. A 16-0 score line? That’s how things shouldn’t be done. I wasn’t at the match so maybe i shouldn’t pass judgment but I am sure things could have been handled differently. I am sure. This garbage of course is acceptable and you know why??? That circle I wrote of. That circle.