I can’t even properly describe today. It’s one of those ‘flashbulb memories’ that you never forget; ever. It ranges up there with proposals, weddings, and the birth of ones children. Yes, it is that vital and it is that important.
Imagine the scene:
You’ve been running through the city for most of the morning. Typing up some papers, going to bank, and handling phone calls left and right. Sounds like a typical day, it’s winter; the snow from the last storm is on the ground and the city hums at its usual post-Christmas tune.
You move after the last stop light and hit the highway, it’s around 2:00 PM in the afternoon. Temperature is around 30 degrees, light wind and plenty of sun. Out of the city you stroll, coming to stop at this high school that is located along the a subdivision in the middle of nowhere.
Turn the car off. Put on your gloves, and start walking towards the football field. As you head down the hill, trying not to slip on the ice, you take a panoramic shot of the surroundings.
Around thirty women on the field kicking soccer balls to each other. A table at the gate; registration for the players. The coaches are grouped in the middle of the field talking, and the camera is being set up along the top of the stadium seating.
You’re greeted at the table by the person running registration, and introduced to ASL interpreters and the EMT that is on site. You walk through the snow left on the rubber track to the midfield line of the rubberized, turf field. Your clothes? Jeans, shirt, and a thick winter coat.
The whistle blows. The coach groups up the players and tells them the instructions for the day. Your job? To literally just stand there and watch.
Minutes pass by as the field is divided into eleven players on each side, and a few standing along the sideline as substitutes. No one acknowledges the ice, snow, or anything else that could be perceived along the way.
You make mental notes of the players; knowing none of them, only recognizing them as 104, 118, 109, and the other numbers that are listed along their shirts and pants.
For two hours you just watch these players give everything they’ve got. This is their tryout, their opportunity to prove to the coaches that they deserve to be on this team. Ranging from junior colleges, to NCAA, to beyond. Every person from every walk of life with just one goal; to continue their game. There is yelling, cleats, and snow flying every which way. Finally, through sweat, ice, and everything in between the head coach blows the whistle and commends each participant. They pack up and head home; to return for another round the next day.
Yourself? You gather up some supplies from the field, walk to your car, and head to a local restaurant with some friends to have a beer, a burger, and talk the day away.
That was my day today. In February of this year the simple notion was imagined; building a women’s soccer program in Kansas City, comprising of the great people of the Great Plains. Some laughed, some were encouraged, and most were just curious.
Today though, through some of the stress that transpired in the morning, to the complete exhaustion of this evening [I’m going to bed early], it all vanished for a few hours this afternoon. I saw a coach who looked, talked, sounded, and acted like a professional coach. I saw a staff who have been stressed lately finally relaxing a bit and smiling. I saw a coaching staff walk the walk, and talk the talk. I witnessed the physical creation of the Kansas City Shock today. It was a small step, but recognizing that some of these players are going to ours in a few months, that they’re going to be the face of our franchise, that they’re going to be the ones who will be shocking the world? Incredible.
Any of you who have followed this blog for the year and some odd months that it has existed surely are somewhat amused at the continued development of this strange notion. For those who are; I think two links are in order to give you some guidance of this crazy adventure:
- Tri-County Storm: Really, the first prototype of the entire idea of what to do in northwest Missouri; aimed directly at just a youth club in the middle of nothing.
- #WPSLKC: From this blog actually, the initial steps of creating a program in Kansas City [several adjustments have been made since].
I suppose in the end, as I’m already starting to doze off for the night, I’m just amazed at how good God is, and how much of Him is etched throughout this entire adventure.