OK, I'm not one to brag (total lie) but right now I have to tweet my own whistle a little bit and show you guys how massively and astoundingly successful my "soccer field in town" campaign has been. All of a sudden I find myself in the totally unexpected, completely new, and fairly uncomfortable position of soccer coach for a good portion of the town's 12-16-year-old population. It's great! Whenever I feel like I have the emotional reserves necessary to effectively handle 20-30 energy-sappin', authority-sneerin', vocal-chord testin' teenagers, I simply throw a whistle around my neck, strap on my Adidas, and stand out in the middle of the field with a soccer ball between my legs.
And then it's like I blew a conch shell. From far and wide they come, heeding the unheard subterranean call. They materialize from neighboring houses as if they had been just waiting there for hours. The emerge unbidden from holes and rafters as if they were household pests. They drift down the sidewalk from the other side of town in twos and threes, strangely drawn to the whitish orb on the ground like small deep-sea jellyfish pulled toward a glowing bulb by an imperceptible ocean current.
And within a matter of minutes the field is packed with shouting kids, arguing over which team the girls need to be on, shouting about who didn't pass the ball, screaming for a foul after tripping over roots or watermelon husks. And there's me, in the middle, fruitlessly blowing my whistle and issuing unheeded threats in a feeble attempt to impose some semblance of order. It's a blast! Anyone has any advice for a soccer coach that barely made it past high-school JV, I'm open--no wait, desperate--for suggestions.