It all started when my neighbor Dave asked if my girls want to play soccer at U6. Soccer? No way!! Softball, basketball, even lacrosse or tennis but soccer, you cant be serious. Wait, Dave is pretty cool, and Doug’s kid is on that team, and both those guys throw great parties. “Hello Dave, yea how do I sign up, the girls are really excited!!” Now I have to tell the girls. They fight tooth and nail, but I offer them both trophies, bigger then their cousins dance trophies, if they at least try it and off we go.
U7, U8, U9
I’m one of the craziest soccer parents in the town. I’m coaching the team and my kids are good, and my recruiting is even better and we are not only winning games, but the pasta parties are the talk of the soccer league. I have read every book on learning soccer, buying videos, and taking the one class that will make me as good as any coach in the state. I’ve got my E license!!
My kids are asked to join travel, I say sure as long as I can be an assistant (that’s what you do when your kids are good and you’re winning in town.). Oh no, now I have to talk the girls into it…again. U11 and U12 travel is where you first find excuses since you’re playing towns you have no business being on the field with and they are playing red light against you which starts the debate, ‘This is more embarrassing then losing 20 to 0!” Then when you lose 20 to 0, “This is embarrassing and I can’t believe they are still scoring.” First reason you lost goes something like this, “They cheat, that kid cant be 12, someone check that kid’s license, I saw her drive the bus in.”, then go right for the juggler of the coach, “We never work on touches, shooting, or passing enough.” “We only practice on half a field every night, then we play on a full field, how does that make any sense?” As an assistant coach the parents agree with everything you say, and when they say something, you agree with them even if both opinions are totally opposite.
Wait, my kids did not just get invited to play on one of the best premier teams in the state. I’m so excited the beating of my heart drowns out the enormous price tag that comes with premier. Especially since the coach has an English accent!!! This time not only do I have to talk the kids into it, but I have to tell the town travel team we are leaving. My good soccer friends now see me as the anti-Christ. Now I have to talk my kids into it one more time. I hit my kids with, “Think about it girls, you’ll still have you’re town friends at middle school and high school soccer, but you’ll make new friends too.” I’m getting so good at this I’m scaring myself.
Off we go, U13, U14, U15, U16, U17 premier.
I’ve spent more money then Bernie Madoff ever dreamed of embezzling, but I tell myself it will all be worth it when my kids playing for North Carolina, on a full boat of course. When I first join premier not only is the play, the coaches, and the uniforms better, but so are the parties. I love everything about it, and I figured since the coach is a college coach, with an English accent, I wont even have to coach from the sidelines, as I’m sure none of the parents do. THINK AGAIN!!! The coach has coached at every level and he still cant figure out my kid should be starting!! What’s wrong with these coaches???? My favorite excuse is when the coach is yelling at your kid and the kid is very upset, what do you say…”Honey he’s only yelling at you cause he see’s the potential in you.” It can’t be cause you just aren’t as good as daddy might think.
The recruiting gets crazy, wait I mean it gets you CRAZY!!!
“Why is the coach helping every other kid find a school but not mine?” “Sorry Honey they’re not D1, so we’re not visiting that school.” “Oh that kid already committed so they packed it in.” “I can’t believe you got invited to Dukes summer camp!!”
Normal day: College coach to my kid-“Got your email, thanks!” My kid “I never sent anyone an email?” Me-“Ummmm, I set up a email account for you and I sent out an email.” My kid-“What, really Dad!!!!” Me-“Well I sent out a couple hundred actually.”
U18, U19 committed.
Finally I have committed to a college…. well, I mean my kid has committed to a college after a couple years of stress, stress, and more stress (caused only by me).
Freshman College, first 3 minutes.
After telling family, friends, coworkers, and strangers that my kid is going to be playing college soccer, and getting Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snap Chat so I can post it (Ok snap chat was for me), off she goes to make Daddy proud!!!
The first call comes, she’s been there what feels like 3 minutes, I’m so excited I knock the wife almost unconscious diving for the phone. Everything is running through my head, she’s calling to say she’s starting, to say she is captain, to say she wants to thank me for all I did…”Hi honey how’s it going?” WTFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!! My heart sinks. I’m fighting back tears, my brain is racing as my daughter is upset and telling me she hates it and wants to come home…nothing funny about this. I sound cliché, as I tell her, “Hang in there, it will get easier.” “Don’t worry about playing time, just work hard.” It’s not as much fun as I/she thought it might be. “Hang in there kiddo, we love you no matter what you decide.”
She actually did hang in there, maybe it did get easier (or she just got numb to it all), but more importantly she loves it. Here we are going into “Our” junior year. I now feel I’m ready for anything. I can blame any bad days on numerous reasons. We practice on grass so when we’re on turf, we’re not use to turf. Or the grass is too long, too short, or we are in a new conference, or she’s been sick all week. I got this. The other day after my 15-minute barrage of questions after a practice, she said, “Dad, I’m not fond of our relationship. All you talk about is soccer. Can you please stop being my coach, fitness guru, and teammate and just start being my dad?” Wow. It hit me harder than one of her strikes from 30 yards out. I felt heart broken. I have been a psycho soccer dad and my kid was crying out. I thought to myself, what conversations have I missed over the years? Should I ask her about Obamacare, school, One Tree Hill, the Bachelorette, SEXXX??? I wanted to talk about anyone of these things (ok not the last one), but my response was just as honest, “You have grown up so much and I thank you for being so honest about your feelings, but we have Georgetown on Sunday and both of us need to be focused on that.” “If you have any questions about life, please talk to your mom.” Never be a quitter, I sure as hell wont.