Sometimes, everything actually does work out perfectly

So, Mika was kind enough in comments to ask what happened in the soccer tournament this weekend.  We won, we won!  I was sooooo happy.  We last one this post-season tournament in 2013.  Despite having the best team in our league in the regular season every year but last year (2nd best), we fared no better than 2nd in 2014-2017.  Last year’s winners won all their spring games, then swept the tournament, then had a great party.  And that was it– they were almost all high school seniors.  I was actually pretty happy for them because we had shared a practice field with them for 4 years and knew them well.  And I so much wanted us to go out the same way.  And we did!  We lost to that team in the first game of the tournament last year, won our remaining three games, then had two perfect 8-0-0 seasons this year.  And, finally, followed it up with a first place in the tournament.

And the final was tough.  Due to lots of rain, games were shortened to 20-minutes halves, a much less reliable predictor of the better team than our usual 45 minute halves (which were supposed to be 35 for the tournament).  Anyway, we pulled it out 1-0, but it was actually the only game all year we won by a single goal (most every other we won by 3+).

After the game one of the player’s family’s with a lovely home hosted everybody for a season-ending pool party.  It was so great.  Especially enjoyed all the players saying a few words (and especially good words from my son and frequent blog reader, David) about what the team and the coaches (including my redoubtable assistant and some-time reader of this blog, Larry) meant to them.   And then kind of a receiving line at the end where I got to have a few words with each player, some of whom I’ve coached since they were 11 (and most through all of high school) and watched grow into young men.   It was honestly just perfect.  On the way home, my wife said something along the lines of, “I hope you appreciate just how perfectly this worked out.  Life rarely works out so nicely.”  I do, I do!

As many of you know I’m a pretty big Duke basketball fan.  I’ve always loved the way Coach K says what he really values most is not the winning, but the relationships.  I totally get what he means.  I’ll be honest, I actually like winning more than I should and am probably far more competitive as a Blasters coach than any other aspect of my life.  That said, I have loved, loved, loved watching these player grow and improve not just as soccer players, but as young men.  And I’ve had so much fun with them and will really, really miss it.

For now, the soccer journey continues with Sarah’s (soon-to-be) U8 Tornados.  And believe me, that team shows it is definitely not about the winning.  And you better believe as long as Sarah wants to play, I’ll be coach.

Anyway, this is the reason my Instagram profile says, “Dad, professor, soccer coach, blogger.”

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

2 Responses to Sometimes, everything actually does work out perfectly

  1. Mika says:

    Hey you won! Congrats! The pool party and all. And you have coached them so many years, that’s dedication. I’m happy for you, this post made me smile!

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