A pair of weekends back, my soccer coaching efforts paused, at least for the next year, or so. After seven years of whistling and cajoling and wheedling camp opportunities and driving car loads of Somalis and occasionally yelling, it seemed a good time to stop, to pursue those always-vague “other opportunities.” Mind you, the time spent with the kids, in retrospect, was totally worthwhile. Knew that all along.
Worked with maybe 75-80 kids over that time, in multiple city parks, on playing surfaces that could sometimes be called, generously, “rough.” There were memorable rainstorms, a handful of road trips, occasional flashes of brilliance and lots of just, plain, simple nice afternoons and evenings spent with the game. But all good things come to an end. I’m thankful for the folks that entrusted their kids to me; and am thankful to the kids themselves, who taught me quite a bit about patience and perseverance. Still not sure I can run a decent practice session, but I do know how to handle young personalities a whole lot better than before.
With the coaching portion of soccer behind me, for the moment, I’ve been toying with a concept. Almost a project. Certainly a radical one, on a purely personal level.
Of late, I’ve come to question the value of taking in professional sports, whether in person, or watching/listening at home. If I were to count the amount of hours spent on just watching soccer on TV, or at some quarter-full stadium, I’d probably start crying. If the time spent, alone, on watching the World Cup over the years came back to me, my book shelves would be completely read, my attempts to watch the 100 greatest films would be finito… who knows how many half-baked projects, currently stacking up to my eyeballs, might be done, or at least in a better state of completion and organization? Yikes.
As of 12:15 CST, Wednesday, June 9, I’m toying with sitting out the World Cup, FIFA South Africa 2010. No TV. No internet check-ups. No trips to Barrister’s, The Amsterdam, O.B. Clark’s. No Germany matches. No U.S. matches. No finals or knockout rounds. No talking about the game. Nothing. Nada. In soccer parlance, nil.
Can it be done?
Will check back in a month on this, right around the time that pre-season training for the Cabrini teams will start. Ugh.