Friday, September 19, 2008

Leader of Men

When duty calls, I respond. When confronted with hunger, I offer my nipple as nourishment. When cornered by a gang of angry youths, I thrash about wildly before collapsing into a defeated sob on the cold, hard concrete.

The point is when Event occurs, it inspires a Reaction in me. And sometimes those reactions are positive. After all, I’ve spent way more of my adult life outside of a prison cell than within. So far. Fight the power.

Duty called for me again recently. This time, Duty took the form of a community soccer coach for my filly’s team. My community is woefully short of parents versed in popular non-American sports involving a bespeckled two-toned ball. I, however, gallantly roamed the tundra from ages 10-12 chasing previously described ball making me an expert in the sport. At least, compared to the other parents.

When word of the need got out, I strode into the office and plopped my hastily filled application on the desk as the clouds parted and a celestial band of light stretched down and engulfed me amidst a symphony of harps.

With squared jaw and booming voice, I proclaimed, “Do not despair. I am heeerre to coach soccer. Your troubles are over.”

I could sense the relief and joy bursting underneath the receptionist’s disinterested and distracted demeanor. She was a wonder in restraint! She scanned the document no doubt searching for the hidden source of my majestic aura (as if Superman’s strength could be found on his resume!?)

“Okay. You have a pulse. You’ll do.”

And that is why soccer flourishes this fall for my filly and dozens of other kids her age. Because of me and my heroic act. I say this humbly as I’m not given to immodesty, as you know. I’m spectacularly, enviably modest, in fact.* Sure there were ten other coaches at this level already signed up and in place but they needed eleven to make it work. And what good is ten when you need eleven? Not much. Thanks but no thanks to the other ten. To paraphrase Spinal Tap, why is 11 better than 10? Because it’s one more than ten.

With whistle askew like General MacArthur’s pipe and clipboard firmly clenched to my side beneath folded arm, I patrol the practice field determined to stamp out errors, frivolity and unrehearsed spontaneity so common in youth soccer. This will be a well oiled machine. There are six of them but only four will see the field of play at any one time. That is the league rules. My rules are that we will play with less than four if I don’t have four that have inspired my full confidence and approval for live game action. I will not go into battle with a weak link.

The first game is this weekend. I have spent the last two weeks breaking them down and rebuilding them in my image.** They are no longer interested in Wii games or Santa Clause or Webkinz. In fact, they no longer feel emotion and can’t even imagine life past the last game. The look in their eyes makes the hair stand up on the back of my…back. It could scare the The Wiggles into dressing in monochrome.

Just how I like it.

The kids do not have names yet. At least, not to me. They will not receive any individual honors – such as a name – or recognition of their existence until they score a goal for me. They are merely independent powered, juice boxed fueled potential goal scorers at this point.

History is rife with tales of people called to duty in times of peril. Some ignore the call. Some step forward.

My call came in the form of a community email burst informing us that “if another coach doesn’t volunteer we’ll sprinkle the remaining kids into the other existing teams which is not a problem at all.”

I answered the call.

By the end of this soccer season, I will not be the coach of a disorderly, recreational soccer team.

I will be a Leader of Men.

Happy trails.


*And handsome.
**And if any of you want to make a crack about the kids getting calve cramps during the game, you can bite your tongue.

_________________________________________

15 long run miles on the docket this weekend.
_________________________________________

I'm a TV watcher and not afraid to admit it. If you didn't catch the season premiere of F/X's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" last night, shame on you. Don't call yourself a fan of comedy. The second episode, The Gang Solves The Gas Crisis, might have been the funniest show I've seen in a long, long time. I nearly wet my diaper...if I still wore a diaper, that is. Ahem.

30 comments:

Two Left Feet said...

i've coached youth soccer for 15 years. you are in for quite the experience my friend. enjoy! (and if you need any tips on drills or practices or anything else, let me know).

p.s. "breaking them down and rebuilding them " - you sound like the feared and almighty pat summit. watch out lil ladies!

RazZDoodle said...

The whole time I'm reading this, I keep thinking of the movie "Ladybugs". Good luck, coach.

Kristina said...

God help those poor girls who apparently will lose an X chromosome this season at the hands of their Leader of Men.

Nitmos said...

I should note that I have coached my son's soccer team for a few years but now am doing it all over again with my daughter. And her team is co-ed so only half the team may lose an X chromosome.

Viper said...

Luckily, if any of these Men do get a calf cramp, you can instruct him to rotate his shin guards to the back side to keep him propped up. No need for a substitution.

Big said...

I love that they must earn a name by scoring a goal for you. Great post. Obviously, there is no 'I' in team, but there is a 'me.' And that has to count for something.

SJ Goody said...

Its always sunny... I can't get enough. I am still reeling from Dumpster Baby aka DB.

Marlene said...

Bend it like Nitmos!

have fun!

Vava said...

Does that mean you will be "one louder" than the other coaches? Slow children beware!!!

Vanilla said...

Does the team have a name? If not, I suggest the Mighty Ducks because "Ducks fly together! Quack, quack, quack, quack!"

Xenia said...

If I were a praying woman, I'd be in a church right lighting a candle for your daughter. God knows she needs it.

Good luck, coach.

*aron* said...

that is so fun!! good luck coach!... or should i be saying good luck to your daughter ;-)

Marcy said...

I'm with Xenia! Now you're inflicting pain on your daughter?!? Like a true serial killer you just keep wanting more victims ;-)

Nah, that's really cute homie! If anything YOU deserve a prize or a medal or something. Dealing with all those snot nose wild kids? GAH!!

chia said...

First rule of Project Nitmos is... DON'T TALK ABOUT PROJECT NITMOS.

You're so Edward Norton gone Brad Pitt mate. Best hand in your shin guards and call it a game :-)

Kiddin, have loads of fun!

Ms. V. said...

Um. Have fun with that. I'll be selling Boy Scout popcorn, so I understand the gig.

Cindy said...

glad to hear that you responded to your civic call of duty! does this mean you will be wearing those little polyester coach shorts? are the kiddies prepared for this?

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Uh oh. Nitmos with a whistle. Could be trouble.

joyRuN said...

The Mace Windu of the Jedi academy or the Jack Black of the House of Rock? Hmmm...

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

"When confronted with hunger, I offer my nipple as nourishment."
--------
Ok, that was disturbing. I don't remember much after that...

The Laminator said...

I have a feeling there'll be a bit of running laps around the soccer field for supposed 'drills' when really all you want is some company for marathon training. Poor souls...

audgepodge said...

hilarious... although i do feel for the filly and her crew :)

Melissa said...

I'm going to following THIS adventure...!

I'm not a TV person myself, I only watch the Daily Show. I WENT to the Daily Show last night!!! Goal Number 9. It was LOUD!!!! And fun, and Tony Blair got grilled to a crisp.

Sbanfnyc said...

Very good. I wish I had been a sports Dad like you.

theloosemoose said...

Have you seen that shirt with the no football, no baseball and no soccer ball icons? It says "Stop playing with your balls and get running!!"
Help your filly to turn away from the Dark Side and embrace a REAL sport. ;)

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Oh dear. Coaching girls is a whole different ball game. Use your sensitive side. :D

AKA Alice said...

Ahhhh... My husband coaches our daughter's soccer team...

Just wait until you get the combo eye-roll and hair-flip in unison. Such a beautiful thing...

Girl on Top said...

Potential goal scorers? I love it. Way to be optimistic!

Meg said...

Good luck! At least it's not the 4 year olds...I did that for a few years and there's no hope in an organized team with those little ones!

Michelle J said...

So, i don't have kids nor do i play soccer so i will commnt on It's always sunny in Philadelphia...

It makes me laugh A LOT!!!! Great show dude!!

Good luck coaching!!

Michelle

sRod said...

Aw, those children have no idea what to expect. Do you come down from your ivory tower for practice? Or only for the weekly game?