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08 February 2017


It all started with an orange and white reversible mesh jersey, white shorts, and black cleats- the standard AYSO soccer jersey back in 1979. I saw a flyer for fall soccer posted at school, and convinced my parents that I wanted to play. I joined the neighborhood team. We practiced twice a week, down the hill at the neighborhood baseball field. The goathead prickers that stuck in the ball were the primary foe. I was an average player, but I loved the game. I played recreational soccer through college. In high school, I became a referee, and kept the ball moving in the waist-high herd of kindergarten player mob. In college, I started coaching. First elementary and middle school girls, and then over the years, boys and co-ed teams too.

So, it was a natural decision that our kids would play sports. First Ashley joined softball. She had a pretty powerful swing, sometimes dangerous when she would let go of the bat! And then, one by one, over the years, we rotated through t-ball, soccer, flag football, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, swimming, volleyball, tennis, golf, table tennis (don't call it ping pong!)... what am I forgetting? In various seasons, Tim and I were called on to coach and to ref, to serve as line judges and scorekeepers, snack mom and gym mom and uniform mom, schedulers...

It's tricky to have a household of kids playing sports. We figured out some ground rules pretty quick. Only one sport per kid at a time because inevitably one event conflicts with another and which team are you going to disappoint? We decided that only a couple of kids could play in any one season because we could only be physically in a couple of places at a time. The best family sport- swimming, no doubt. Every kid in the family caged in the pool while Tim and I sat outside on summer evenings, eating snacks and cheering. It was practically date night.

We learned a lot in youth sports, good and bad both. We had some great coaches over the years, men and women who gave their best to our kids and taught them well. We had some experiences that turned into learning opportunities, coaches and parents and refs and players who behaved poorly and gave us examples of "what not to do." Our kids were on teams that won championships and on teams that lost so many games we stopped keeping count. (don't be fooled, winning is definitely more fun!) We have had players who started every game and players who sat the bench for all but the last minute of every game. We even had a few rounds at All-Stars. We took roadtrips and stayed in lousy hotels ("I think this may be a meth kitchen...") and a few nice ones, too. We sat in sun and cold and freezing cold and wind and rain. We've had breaks and sprains and strains and limps and jams and aches and ice and heat. I can't even remember all the team names we've cheered for and all the goofy exhortations we've shouted out. "Show 'em what a 15 looks like!"

Now finally, we come to the end of our very last season. Our last players arrived at their last banquet, posed for their last team photo. It's just a tad bittersweet for all of us, but much more sweet than bitter. We have made good friends and good memories. I'm sure that we all agree that we'd do it all again. Thanks Team Holliday!

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