For the Orange Monsters, it was another week, another win. This is the most aggressive group of five and six year olds I’ve ever seen in life. They could give the Lost Boys a run for their money.
Before heading to the field, I had a conversation with my daughter, Cydney. In our pep talk, I told my girl that people aren’t going to pass the ball. If she wants to score and make a difference, she’s going to have to go and get the ball. She looked at me and said “Ok, daddy.”
I’m not gonna lie, there’s one team I want to play more than any other one. It has nothing to do with testing my team’s mettle and creating a rivalry; one of the kids’ mom is just fine. On the first week at the field, I stood around looking for the parents and children that would become the Orange Monsters. With a baseball cap, leggings, and a smile, a woman who appeared to be in her early thirties came up to me and asked if I was the coach of the burgundy team. I smiled back, said “No, I’m orange,” and regretted the soccer club’s color assignments. Maybe next week.
I’m a single parent who coaches soccer and baseball in Long Island. Very rarely do I meet other single parents. However, I just have a radar…I know one when I see one. I don’t get into much trouble in the city these days, so I’m a little more open to the notion of meeting women where I’d find them: children’s sporting events.
Last Saturday was also picture day. Because I didn’t want to cut into game time, I sent the parents of my team a text message asking them to come a half hour early so that we could get it out of the way. Everyone did as I asked. It was a little stressful for five minutes as I attempted to get the children to simmer down and take a decent photo. I must have said “Hey!” a good fifteen times. The Orange Monsters eventually downplayed their name, tucked in their jerseys, and smiled for the camera. I did something that I rarely do: smile.
When the scrimmage started, the Orange Monsters came out and were relentless. They scored goal after goal after goal. I almost wanted to tell them to relax a little; but they wouldn’t have done so, anyways. My team consists of eight players: five girls and three boys. Two of the boys are twins and are very aggressive. However, the girls are otherworldly. Cydney gets her one goal a game. Cydney’s pal, is an incredible goalie, and one of the others is averaging three-to four goals a game. I like letting the girls play together because they get it done.
There is always that one kid and mom on the team. On the first post from this season, I mentioned that one mother was giving me a hard time, stating her song had been playing since he was three. All that little boy does is cry and never wants to get into the game. That mother came with all three of her kids and husband. The oldest, who has to be about nine, was out of control as the youngest cried incessantly. She had no control of her children. Being with a group of other black fathers, we all looked at each other and thought to ourselves “I wish my kid would!”
I love not being the only black father out there. For once, in a soccer setting, there is someone else for me to relate to other than the coaches and instructors. During our first stint with soccer, my friend, Neighbour, Cydney, and myself were the only people of color in lily-white and upper-crust Garden City. No one spoke to me at all. Over the past two years, I have become good friends with Coach Eddie, Cyd’s instructor since the fall of 2014. I didn’t fit in with any of those parents. Most of them acted incredibly snobby and didn’t say a word; so I often sat by myself, away from everyone else, and watched my kid run circles around them as they sipped their lattes. It’s beyond refreshing to fit in, for once.
The Orange Monsters won 11-0. They kicked ass. I even let Cydney play goalie again. She’s becoming a little more attentive. She had three saves, even though one and a half of them were coincidental. But hey, I gotta let her try and not discourage her.
Until next week…