Friday, March 25, 2011

Coach Dad

Whit has agreed to coach Caroline's soccer team this spring. It's a recreational league -- a few of the girls have moved to the big-time teams, but for the most part, this team has stayed together since kindergarten.

I predict a flaming, detonating disaster of gigantic proportions.

Whit played soccer in college. Well; he received a scholarship to play. Whit coached college soccer. Well. Whit likes to win. Whit is an athlete.

Caroline has played soccer for a few years. Sometimes well, sometimes not. She doesn’t particularly care if they win. Caroline is a little girl.

Anyway, the first practice is tonight. Whit has his speech ready. It's a speech that would truly inspire college athletes. It's a speech that will result in 12 little girls looking at him with blank stares. Or like he's nuts.

Whit has asked me to go buy him a magnetic clipboard so he can explain plays. He doesn't know the little girls will want to take the magnets home to put on their refrigerators.

He has a warm-up drill ready. He doesn't know they warm up by playing on the jungle gym adjacent to the field.

He has a playbook that involves passes, fakes and goals. He doesn't know their playbook involves cartwheels down the field, holding hands and braiding each other’s hair.

He has made up a victory cheer they can use when they score. He doesn't know they just hug each other when they score.

He wants to talk about fire, grit and pride. They want to talk about Taylor Swift, sleepovers and earrings.

Whit is a great dad. He’s a great coach. But he’s not a third-grade girl.

He thinks this season will be a defining moment for him as a father.

I don’t have the heart to tell him he’s basically going to be chaperoning a playdate.

Yeah, it's gonna get ugly.

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