Saturday, February 16, 2013

Soccer Parent

“Soccer parents” shepherd their children around to games like herders taking care of their flock. Pushing, shoving, yelling, schlepping, cajoling and encouraging are the soccer parent’s demeanor. Eagerly and reluctantly is their attitude.

I missed much of that while my two sons were young for two basic reasons. My job afforded me too little time for this duty while my children were in elementary and middle school and therefore most of those duties were assigned to my wife. Secondly, neither boy was interested in soccer, football, baseball, band, karate or any number of time consuming activities. They had other interests, mainly friends and self directed interests. This self directed mindset had two wonderful benefits; first, it helped my sons become largely independent and self sufficient young men and secondly, it made me an observer in their lives not a director.

Moving forward twenty years I am slowly becoming a soccer father to one of my sons, Mark. While he was not an athlete as a child he developed a serious sports interest during high school. He was the manager of the basketball team (keeping score, filming and cheering the team on), in college he took an internship with the San Antonio Spurs in their marketing department (which turned out to be three years) and then he became a high school football statistician for radio (Texas Sports Radio Network) and TV games (KMYS TV).

My wife and I would occasionally listen to the radio to hear our son’s name mentioned at the end of a broadcast. He had several nicknames; the Commodore and the Human Abacus were our favorites. As time went on he became the lead statistician for the broadcasts of a local powerhouse team, followed by a regular assignment for Thursday night’s high school TV games, and home games for the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) football team.

Listening would be the main extent of our involvement in his avocation. A few years ago he asked me if I wanted to go to a game. At first I refused; I am not a big football fan and high school games just didn’t entice me. Then he asked me to attend a high school playoff game at the Alamodome (a full-sized stadium designed for college and professional games); I jumped at the chance for behind the scenes access in the stadium. I took photos from the press box and on the field.

Then last year he got me four tickets to a UTSA home game at the Alamodome. Friends joined my wife and me for a wonderful time in a domed stadium. Reluctantly, I am becoming a soccer parent.

This year Mark was contacted by the basketball coach of St. Anthony's Catholic High School about his football blog and asked if he would write about basketball. Those details are best described by Mark in his blog. My point is that Mark asked me to accompany him to a game or two. Several weeks ago I went to a game with him as a photographer. Playoff time has arrived and yesterday I went with him to a local university for a high school basketball playoff game. 

Coach Kevin Smisek (L) and Mark (R)

I gave up a Friday night out with my wife, sister-in-law and friends to go to a high school basketball game. My time as a soccer parent has arrived. It appears that I will most likely end up at a few high school football games next year.

I used this new found involvement as an excuse to buy a new gadget for my camera. Recently I bought a 75-300 mm telephoto lens to help me get better photos from a distance. This addition was followed by a new battery and a mono-pod purchase to steady the new large lens. Soon I will need a larger bag. A man needs his gadgets and only the slightest justification is needed to buy stuff.

The best thing about being a soccer parent to an adult child is that I don’t have to buy donuts, pizzas, or hamburgers after a game for the team.

Mark and I grabbed a late night bite after the game, alone.

Late dinner at Hong Fong, San Antonio's oldest Chinese restaurant

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  1. Dad is my unofficial photographer for the games.

    Awesome post and thanks for coming. I am gonna share this link on Facebook and Twitter!!!

  2. I served my time to school girl hockey, I filled the car with eager young ladies and drove them to and from the games. That way I heard all the news without asking! ;) I was never into sports when I was at school, and Elly soon dropped out at Grammar school, there were far too many other interests to eat into her time. Hockey was a winter outdoor game and standing on a windy and wet sideline with no shelter was not my idea of fun.

  3. My first basketball game resulted in a sore back for a week from the bleacher seats. No way to treat an old man.