Signs of Spring

This weekend was the first round of spring soccer games. Even those of you that haven’t yet been sucked into the Soccer Vortex probably noticed the ridiculous increase in minivan traffic yesterday. Yes, it is once again that time of year where all the could-have-beens scream incoherently at their never-will-be’s in another futile attempt to live out their childhood fantasies of athletic greatness.

For myself, I actually had to coach a U6 boys game yesterday and I have to say that while my parents were reasonably well-behaved and limited their scathing comments to the officiating crew, you could already see the gleam in their eyes that predicted that their child was just biding his time until he rose above the pathetic efforts of his teammates to completely dominate the U6 bracket. As a matter of fact, the biggest cheers and applause came when one player got clubbed to the ground and another got smashed in the nose with the ball. It was a little disturbing, but one does not argue with an angry mob of sunscreen-toting soccer hooligans.

They say that hindsight is 20/20 and perhaps I should have more forcefully engaged with the soccer moms and dads. I feel certain that at some point during the ensuing scuffle, I would have had at least one sunscreen tube chucked at me. I say this because despite having played, refereed, or coached soccer since I was about 6 years old apparently I have not yet learned the most important lesson of the game; white dudes get sunburned.

Immediately after the boys game we had to drive (this is so typical of soccer parents) all the way across the county to attend the Hobbit’s game. During this game I dutifully sat on the bleachers well behind the other soccer parents (apparently no one appreciates my detailed breakdown of strategy) and watched the entire game. The Hobbit played rather well, despite being screamed at for slacking by a coach who’s understanding of the game consists mainly of volume, and I left the game feeling a mix of pride in her accomplishments and anger at the coaching staff. As we made our way home my anger began to cool as the left half of my body began to heat up. By the time we arrived back at the house, I realized that I was going to be a delightful shade of pink for a few days.

Thankfully I’m not as fair-skinned as some folks and the sunburn isn’t that bad. It’s really more embarrassing than anything else because it’s perfectly obvious that I wasn’t doing anything; only the left half of my face and neck got sunburned. I won’t even get to tell cool stories about epic rounds of golf or completely destroying those college punks in Ultimate Frisbee.

Perhaps this is just one of the signs of spring that we’ve all come to accept (some people even anticipate) as normal. Flowers bloom, birds start singing, minivans clog the streets, and I turn into a walking advertisement for neapolitan ice cream.

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