I could not have created a more perfect day, weatherwise, for our 10 hour soccer tournament, held in a town called Pohang, about 2 hours away from here. When I told Natalie it would be like going to Portland, she misunderstood and said, “we’re going home?!” Sweet, sweet girl.
The elementary soccer team I’m coaching, with my friend Hugh Cole, is so big we broke into 2 teams to ensure everyone got to play a lot, to build their skills. And play they did! Regardless of the overwhelmingly one-sided scores, they kicked and ran their little hearts out, against opposing teams who looked like professional athletes, or, okay, atleast gigantic middle schoolers. I have one little guy, a 3rd grader, who doesn’t outweigh Natalie, for sure. He ran around that field like a little madman, big ol’ grin from ear to ear. He kind of made me want to get out there and play a bit myself. Now that’s inspiration!
Every weekend here brings a new opportunity to get out and see the countryside and be more of a part of the culture that is Korea. I loved the day. It was long, but filled to the brim with laughter and pick-up side games, parental sharing of snacks (yum!), and overall lighthearted fun. It was all about the kids. As it should be!
At the end of the day, I had earned hugs and ‘thank you’s’ and ‘see you next weeks’ from the players, who, honestly, up to that point, sort of seemed to view me as a big meanie who made them run laps sometimes. I enjoyed myself so much that I signed on to continue soccer as an activity next quarter. It’s a real feeder program now. These DIS Jets will be competetive before we know it!