What was supposed to be..

By Leslie Parks - Saturday, September 14, 2013

This season was supposed to be easier.  This was the season that my husband was going to take a break from coaching. This season I was just to get Lona to and from RDL practice.  This season the boys were only going to play a school sport, but this thing came up. "We need more kids to get this off the ground", I heard.  "Just sign up, there aren't any practices just games", I heard.  "It'll be fun", I heard. "We just need 5 more kids", I heard.  I asked and almost begged Isaac, please don't sign up.  He's already part of the tennis team.  He's got lots of homework each night.  He has a goal to get a 4.0. "Don't do it", I said.  He wasn't going to but they only need 5 more guys.  So he signed up for Rangers Competitive High School soccer.  I knew that it was going to be tough.  This was the year that I was only going to have 1 game to worry about and it was going to be either at 8 or 9:15 on Saturday mornings.  The kids were going to referee and so I just needed to make sure they got to the fields and then pick them up but I was only going to be on the field for one game.  It's not that I don't like soccer.  I do like it.  We are a soccer family.  It's fun watching and cheering my kids on.   I was just hoping for a low-key Saturday.  So here we are with two playing soccer on Saturdays instead.  On Monday we received an email asking if John would coach this team. I texted John who was in Amsterdam and 9 time zones difference from us.  Sure he says.  Really, this was the season that he was just going to be a parent on the sidelines.  So I replied to the email that he would but is out of town until Friday.  Great, a trainer was sent out to practice to cover for him.  This was the practice that we weren't supposed to have because it was low-key.  Wednesday I dropped Lona off early to her practice, picked Isaac up from his 2 hour tennis practice, gave him a burrito and dropped him off for a two hour soccer practice and told him to walk home with Lona.  I had volunteered to be a youth group leader.  John was still in Rotterdam.  So this morning we had an 8 am soccer game for Lona.  I drove home to pick up Job for his referee job.  I watched the last 10 minutes of her game and took her home to pick up Isaac for his 10 am game.  Apparently it was a 10:30 game but the coaches were told 10 am.  Then back home to bring Lona to her first referee job.   Then finish watching Isaac play and home to change get lunch and right back to his referee job.  Then started the cycle of picking up kids.
John had less than 24 hours to get things organized for the game today.  He can't help but coach. He loves it.  Today I realized that he can teach the kids to be competitive and compassionate.  He has a lot to give  to the kids.  This is his outreach.  This is the way he gives back. This is his passion.  Today I watched him have concern for the other team.  The other team was thrown together with kids from Stanwood, Anacortes, Friday Harbor, and Burlington.  They didn't have enough players.  They were short kids and coaches.  John had two subs.  He looked around his team and gave the other team one of our players.  He gave Isaac, my Isaac to the other team.  After it was 3 to zero he started moving kids out of their natural position and had them try other places.  At half time when it was 9 to 0, he pulled one of his best players and had him play for the other team.  Then he put a kid in goalie that had never played on a soccer team before.  This allowed the kid to experience the position in a non threatening game and gave the other team a chance to score.  He also pulled a player off the field so they were playing a man down.  It has to be competitive and fun for both teams.  So even though we were supposed to have a very different soccer season this year, I'm glad that we have a chance to shape kids. At the end of the game, the kids get into a huddle and cheer the other team, just shout their opponents names and then give fist pumps to the other team.  The stand in coach asked Isaac if he wanted to go back to his team, and he smiled and said, "I started the game with you guys, I'm ending it with you."  Of course when he was "traded" to the other team.  At the beginning Isaac laughingly and in a good natured tone said, "Screw you guys I'm going to the other side."  His team is the green team.  I like his fun loving somewhat sarcastic attitude when it shows up.  I'm glad that this season isn't the season that was supposed to be.

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