Monday, August 23, 2010


I am running up the concrete stairs, taking two at a time until I reach the top. I gaze out onto the bright green turf field and look upon the kids kneeling on one knee, with the coach in the middle, waving his arms and stomping around, making eye contact with each kid. As the equipment coach for my son's pop warner team, I am organized and prepared for any popped clip, any broken shoelace or any loose face mask that surfaces. I drop my equipment bag by the scattering of water bottles, and coolers on the sideline and walk over to the pack. 

I shake hands with the other assistants and listen in on the conclusion of the firm monologue covering the lackadaisical effort at the scrimmage the day before. I feel bad for the team, but the coach is passionate in his effort to teach the team proper technique, while playing fired up. I am committed to helping out even though my son is not at tonight's practice. He will not make practice all week, as he is away on his annual cousin getaway at his grandparents. 

As the players break for a drink, many kids ask where my son is and welcome his return, at the same time jealous he does not have to participate in another hot grueling practice. I feel happy that my son is missed by his teammates and feel bad that he is vacationing while his team is running laps and doing endless tackling drills. I take out my phone and call him from the field and relay the team's well wishes, awaiting his return to take his place on the defense, and joining them on those wind sprints. 

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