Friday, October 17, 2008


Tyrel and the Crocodile’s soccer season is now history. Their final game ended with the Crocodiles short by a single goal. The memories, lessons, and experience are priceless.

In the days leading up to this game it was evident by Tyrel’s action that this championship game was on his 9-year-old mind. Since birth, Tyrel has not been much of a morning person. It takes him a while to get warmed up and get the cob webs out of thi shead. The days before this game were different. From the instant his feet hit the floor in the morning he was elaborating on how he thought the soccer game would go.

The big day came and the Crocodiles played tough and executed their game as well as they had at any other time during the season. These two teams were nearly identical in both athletic ability and skills; the ball was back and forth constantly with teams getting only 1 shot at a goal before the ball was kicked out to mid-field. You got the feeling from the opening kick-off that this would be a dead heat.

Parents, friends, and family packed the sidelines. From the size of the crowd you could have easily mistaken this event for a high school state championship game. Everyone was cheering for their team and player. Although we spectators brought chairs nobody ever used them to actually sit down. There were even a couple of dads who nearly marched a trench the entire length of the field. Vince Lombardi could not have been able to bring more focus to us parents.

I had to laugh at myself when I realized I was leaning, ducking, twisting, and hoping on one foot all in an effort to give that soccer ball more of that last needed bend or English. I quickly recognized I was in good company as most parents were in various steps of this same odd rhumba. At games end I may have expended as much energy as the players.

After the game it was evident Tyrel was disappointed. I attempted to help him realize there is no shame in being bested when you played your best. After my rambling, Tyrel elaborated by telling me he scored the winning goal for the other team. Apparently, his team lined up to defend against a corner kick. Despite their extensive practice the day before for this exact scenario, the Crocodiles treated the soccer ball like a dodge ball- except for Tyrel. With his line of sight blocked by his teammates he was hit by the ball without ever really knowing where it was. The ball caromed into the goal.

This problem was a “father test” I had not yet studied for. I stumbled through trying to help Tyrel realize that no amount of preparation or athletic ability will ever be able to fully counter pure luck. This is the lot to which all athletes are born.

A short talk steered Tyrel back to the easy-going, carefree personality...and the sun came up the next day.

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