I coach all three of my daughters’ travel soccer teams. Between practices and games, I will spend almost twenty hours a week on a soccer field. This doesn’t include traveling to and from games or any of the administrative headaches that come with the gig.
It can be very stressful getting kids ready, out the door and on time. Each team has had their share of growing pains. There have been injuries, yelling, and more than the occasional tear.
Joy can be fleeting depending upon the outcome of any game or the degree to which a practice was deemed enjoyable by a team of harsh critics.
Outside of work it is my most significant time commitment and cause of stress. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
On one level it is a very cool responsibility to coach the same group of over thirty girls year after year and see them grow, not just in their ability on the field, but how they carry themselves off of it. To have some small role in this process is awesome.
On a completely different level, the opportunity to spend this precious time with my own daughters is invaluable.
My back of the napkin math says that cumulatively I have spent around 4,000 hours with my daughters either on a soccer field or traveling to/from one. That’s the equivalent of having a forty hour/a week job for two years — where all I did was spend time with my kids and soccer.
This shared experience is not just about a game. The long car rides have provided me with a chance to talk to my kids about a whole host of topics. We’ve shared laughs, worries, and frustrations. As they say, it’s sometimes easier to have a conversation with your kids when they’re in the back seat than when they are right in front of you.
I didn’t play soccer as a kid and was only a passing fan when I started coaching seven years ago. While I’ve learned a ton in that time, I must admit my own limitations as a coach. As a Dad, though, soccer has only made me better.
I feel so fortunate to have the flexibility to spend this much time with them. It is a luxury that I know many others don’t have. Yet the idea of finding one thing, just one thing, that you and your child – or any loved one for that matter – can do with you regularly — every week, every year, is remarkable.
It will be well worth your time and theirs. And as my math above demonstrates, it adds up.