Soccer Stars

May 17th, 2015 Boyhood, Fatherhood, Fitness, Health, Sport

We love soccer Saturdays in our house.  After all it gives me the first real opportunity to live vicariously through my children.  If I’m honest, part of me used to harbor a secret fantasy that one of my boys was going to demonstrate prodigious, breathtaking talent as soon as they touched the ball.  That the coach was going to come over to me at the end of the first lesson.  Put his hand on my shoulder, gently usher me away from the other parents so as not to evoke jealousy and discord among a group of lesser gifted children and offer me a few choice words about nurturing my child’s unique talent.  Fast streaming him to a class for older children, where he could be observed more closely and his craft could be honed.  Okay, if I’m really honest, part of me still continues to harbor this fantasy.

Soccer is probably the first organized sport that most kids encounter.  And for most of us as parents, our first brush with organized sports since college.  It also means that soccer is the first time we as parents get a direct, real time, opportunity to compare our child to their peers within an organized setting.  It also brings us face to face with the phenomenon known as the soccer mom, and the soccer dad.  Or rather the shadowy, nascent, nebulous incarnation of their future alter egos.  Yes, much like the adolescent Anakin Skywalker in the ill-fated Attack of the Clones, it is all too easy to see future Sideline Sith Lords in the faces and attitudes of these parent padawans.

evil anakin

My heart sinks.  Not least for what my future holds, an unending stream of Saturdays on the sidelines with these overachieving types, but more horrifically that I might, unwittingly, become one myself.  So seductive is the dark side of the vicarious force.  All are powerless once caught in its tractor beam.  Heck, I might even be one now and not realize it.  In an over elaborate and deliberate effort to distance myself from being tarred with that brush, I remain seated throughout the class, almost indifferent to what transpires on the field.  But now do I just look aloof and callous?  It’s a perilous path to traverse for sure.  Not – as they say – to be traveled lightly.

The lesson ends and none of the coaches approach me.  But maybe that’s a good thing.  Or maybe they’re just waiting ’til next week to tell me…

Super Soccer Stars

 

A Moment of Clarity

May 16th, 2015 Boyhood, Fatherhood, Self Discovery

There are days – well I shouldn’t say days – moments really – there are moments, which usually pop into my mind as I try to remain calm during a toddler meltdown – and we’ve had some epic ones here at the Beachwood Boys Club – when I will catch myself thinking “What did I do to myself?  I mean, I used to have a strong sense of self. I thought I used to know who I was. What I stood for. I used to care about whether or not I left the house with small amounts of vomit on my shirt, or if I got more than four hours sleep – didn’t I?”

After a fleeting moment, the thought will pass and I will come back to the present. “Am I really trying to engage in a rational discussion with a two year old about a mislaid Lego brick?  Is this who I am now?  Have I become such a community dad that I can no longer see the wood for the trees?  That I must entertain every new crisis and take on the severity of each new occurrence as my own personal crusade?”

Parenting if nothing else has taught me – or rather has forced me to access – my patience.  Not a quality to which I am naturally predisposed.   And it has encouraged me to discern the life threatening: “Jaxon take your finger out of that electric socket”; from the critical “Jaxon please don’t drop that on your brother’s head”;  to the unimportant – or irrelevant – “Jaxon please try to avoid hitting me in the face next time you do that.”

But then – even in the heat of battle of one of those moments – and it really can feel like a battle sometimes, one of them will say something innocuous, or a make a noise or offer a look and I will be jarred out of my own ego and back into the reality, the love and the joy.  So far from berating myself about not feeling like a perfect parent all the time, I welcome those moments of frustration, because I know they will pass and I know that they offer me an opportunity to remind me of what I have.

Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Board

May 15th, 2015 Boyhood, Fatherhood, Self Discovery

These two characters are the co-founders of the Beachwood Boys Club. Jaxon and Skyer.   Duly appointed Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the board. I’ve also managed to sneak onto the board and we invite you to be members as well. To share your stories, experiences and wisdom. Laughter and joy, tears and frustrations. Moments of zen like enlightenment and bewildering bafflement.

The Beachwood Boys Club is the story of how the joy of innocence overcame the cynicism of ego.  Specifically, mine. How one four year – old along with his two year old brother – can educate, inspire and challenge a forty two year old man to reevaluate both his entrenched values as well as the world around him. Not in any self-conscious or deliberate “journey of self discovery” type of way. But rather in a quietly, unconscious and almost imperceptibly. Discovered through the activity of the everyday reality of being a parent. Simply of being. But all the more powerfully and profoundly as a result.