Lake Minnetonka Community Editorial

A lake-area grandfather shares the story of his soccer learning curve.

I am a soccer neophyte. I have been swept into the vortex of the tsunami-like sub-culture of the country’s burgeoning preoccupation with soccer. Four of my nine grandchildren have joined the hordes of youngsters who genuflect at the altar of the soccer god. As the patriarch of the family, I feel obliged to support their efforts. I attend games, but the subtleties and nuances of soccer remain foreign to me. Play commences and what ensues is an amorphous mélange of miscellaneous motion featuring players kicking the ball, hitting it with their heads but rarely scoring. Virtually all sports have plays—and I imagine soccer does, too, but they elude me.

In my nascent days as a soccer novitiate, I schlepped my folding chair to remote fields and suffered thru games in primitive conditions, battling, sun, mosquitoes, rain, poor seating and interminable waits for balls kicked into bushes. Now, times have changed. Errant balls are pursued by young acolytes who are stationed around the perimeter of the field. These ladies in waiting are soccer aspirants who are paying their dues before ascending to the next level. The playing fields are first class. There is stadium seating, and a new color video scoreboard proudly displays the smiling faces of young ladies, many showcasing more than $3,000 worth of orthodontia.

If only by osmosis my knowledge of soccer may not be growing exponentially, but there are emerging signs that I am no longer the consummate soccer dweeb. At the conclusion of the game, I gather with the other supporters to await the appearance of the participants. Finally, I am enriched. My self-confident, smiling granddaughter is neither unafraid nor embarrassed to thank her grandfather for coming while giving him a big hug and kiss. This reward is what I like most about being a soccer poppa.

Daniel G. Endy is a retired film and video producer who lives in Wayzata.

 

Editor’s note: This column marks the introduction of an occasional community editorial. If you’d like to submit a story for consideration, email your tale (no more than 300 words) to [email protected].