RETIRED! Coached my last soccer game for the EFC: Eaton Futbol Club... it was a long journey with peaks and valleys... we ended on a high note

Spring 2015 marks the last season of coaching Recreational Soccer for ME!

I am glad it is over... I am going to miss it... but I am definitely glad it is over
coaching... the thankless task of volunteering
with all of its under appreciation from all sides
it has its rewards
intrinsic rewards... rewards that I am not sure I have yet to reap

roughly 7 years of coaching the John Eaton Futbol Club my tenure has wound down
from pre-K through the tail end of 5th grade
I have done all that I can do
it was a rough road
coaching is not always easy

seems like a logical time to hang up my whistle
seems like a rational time to have the team fold

drama with the kids... even more drama with the parents
then the conflict with the league and the other teams

so much misery scripted by my own actions

all the personalities of the children
all the personalities of the parents
all the personalities of the opposing teams
and sadly the personality of the coaches
not so sure if I have a good personality for coaching... yet I did it anyway

the varying levels of focus and the varying level of athleticism
coaching young soccer players must be different than coaching Rec level soccer
I definitely had some Walter Matthau Bad News Bears moments

it is amazing to see the photos and reflect on how I have seen these children grow
still little kids... but they were once miniature versions of their current selves

these are some old photos... 
some older  archives

if only I knew the secret as to how to light the fire inside a child
if only...

if I knew this secret it would change the world
I would write a book... make millions
and every child would reach their athletic potential
alas no... I do not know how to light the fire inside another

no... I do not know how to light the fire inside another person
not a child... not an adult
passion comes from within
to play with passion and heart rarely comes from the guidance of others... it comes from within
yet I tried...

I tried so hard to inspire the children
it was always an effort to try and light a fire inside them
yet so often I fell short
there were all sorts of kids that showed up with "want"
I was able to build on that want... those kid went on to play "travel"
while the other kids floundered a bit
yes... they had moments... but it was often inconsistent

just asking the kids to give their best... yet seldom seeing it
it was great when it came together
while so many times it was hard to watch
frustrating to watch

so many nail biting Saturdays

hours and hours of coaching
for a long while I hosted two practices a week
two practices from 6 until sundown and then the Saturday game
major life commitment

it was a stressful adventure
sacrificing post work bike rides and Saturday mountain bike adventures to coach soccer
always trying to show up prepared
always trying to be be on time

quite a commitment
all sorts of sacrifice
the routine of leaving work and rushing home
then zipping across town to coach practice
it was never easy

only to deal with the frustration of the Rec level of commitment
parents bringing their children late
not thinking soccer
not ready to play soccer
or not showing up at all

it brought me great anxiety
especially on game day
often not knowing it we would be able to field a team
then at the start of the game the final players arrived
no time to talk soccer... no time to get ready
just get on the field and play

for years I tried to coach the parents to show up 30 minutes before the start of the game
the parents were as difficult as the children

then the issue of coaching my own son...

Grant is head strong
Grant has always been head strong
from the earliest days Grant has been headstrong
a tough personality to coach
a very very difficult situation for a parent to coach their own child

I like Grant's headstrong personality
it just happens to be a tough personality to coach

locking horns with your own child is no great pleasure
I never solved the riddle in how to motivate this head strong child
instead... we just locked horns
battling it out 
not the parent child relationship that I had envisioned
not the coaching experience that I wanted to script

it was tough
lots of anger and frustration
but also lots of love
hopefully there was some quality time mixed in with all the battles

I tried... it was a battle
yet I tried
tried with varying success

yes... we won our last game
the parents showed up late... I tried not to let my heart rate rise... I tried not to let my blood boil
the usual people showed up with their kids on time
then the people who tend to show up late showed up late

the kids worked the ball
they played like team
they passed... then they passed... then they passed some more
and they scored

when they scored they celebrated
they wanted to win... they wanted to score goals
why did they not play with "want" like this every week?
what made them "want" to score goals?
what made them "want" to win?

they never wanted to lose... but this week they wanted to WIN!
they wanted to end on a high note and they did
the smiles... the hugs... it was a great thing to witness
then an end of the season pool party

quite a climatic end to a long journey
it felt good
for a second I felt like my efforts paid off
I even felt somewhat appreciated 

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