We met at Donatos Westerville (a store I managed back in the day), where Jim treated the girls to a few pizzas, and I passed out the participation trophies, WASA 30th anniversary pennants, and my own creation: personalized acrylic plaques, made by the same guy who did my custom Christmas ornaments last year.
The plaques sit in a base that has blue LEDs, and the light illuminates the plaque, making the frosted areas appear blue. Each girl's plaque had her name on it, a nickname, and something positive that they contributed to the team... "Best passing", "Leading scorer", "Fastest reactions", etc. Here's an example of the template I used for Stacey's:
|From U12 Playbook|
The girls found it pretty cool, I think, as I went around the table handing out the items and saying something about each player and why I was happy she was on the team. The only sour note about the affair was my inability to keep calm, and still my hands from shaking. I did some breathing exercises to calm my voice, but my body betrayed my nervousness. Oh well, should be easier next time.
The soccer team I play on, the Raiderz, finished the season with a win. I played while still chasing a cold, and struggled to catch my breath for the entirety of my field time. I made no good plays, and half of my touches on the ball ended up going right back towards the opponent I tried to steal from. One of the defense subs injured his leg during the game, so I tried to stay in, even though I was underperforming. Horrible, but we pulled off a 3-2 win without much difficulty.
After the game the players camped out under a shelter, drank some brew, and chatted for about an hour. I had an energy drink in lieu of beer, and enjoyed the banter, contributing a little here and there. I guess I'm mellowing in my old age, because those situations usually get under my skin for some reason. Either I don't like watching everyone drink, or I find their conversation predictable and ignorant. Not so, this time, or the last few parties I've been to with Liberty's family and friends. Just people talking about whatever comes to mind, relaxing, playing party games, with no one to impress. Things don't need to be fantastical to hold my interest these days, which I'm thankful for. In the long run, that will make me seem like less of a pretentious ass.
This winter, neither I nor Stacey will participate in any indoor soccer. I need to heal from being banged up the last few months, and I couldn't drum up enough interest from the other girls' parents to form a complete U-12 team. Just as well, a little less activity will help as Stacey's schoolwork gets harder, and I can return to a regular training program instead of healing during the week from Sunday's injuries.
In other news, I'm in a lot of pain right now. My legs hurt when I walk (soccer induced, no doubt), my back is growing some sort of painful red mark, and I've only been sleeping about 4 hours a night for the past couple of weeks. I've been unsupportive of my girls at home, disinterested, abrupt. In the mirror I look old, and I have a hard time mustering a smile most of the time. I need to rest and heal, and have the support of my immediate family to pull me back up to my feet. Hopefully things will get better soon.