Monday, June 13, 2011

Running things from the field

When I was in high school, there was no girls soccer program. While women's soccer was growing rapidly in the club system, it had yet to find its way into the high schools. By the time I was in grade 12, I was playing and coaching soccer all summer. I wanted to play at school, too.

I decided it was time to launch a school tournament. I was 17, and I was playing and coaching rep soccer. I was in charge of publicity for our local club and I was a qualified referee. I had passed the first level of the national coaching program (at the time, that involved a written test, a practical test, and a referee's test). Running a tournament was in reach. All I needed was a staff sponsor. A friendly history teacher agreed to become our "coach."

We began a round of communication with the local club and with other schools. I don't remember how many teams entered, or who won the tournament.

I remember standing on the back line of one field, playing defence. I was also coaching (managing the bench and the on-field motivation) and watching two other fields to be sure that referees had arrived and games were being played. I remember that moment when I was tracking three different roles and loving all three.

It's funny what we remember. I don't remember much of the process or the tournament results. I don't remember how well we played. I remember that the local club gave us great support (and referees). And I remember standing on the back line, ready for kickoff while shouting instructions as a coach and monitoring two other fields.

And in that moment, I remember that I was not multi-tasking. I was just one person in one place, stretching my awareness and making connections so that I could notice that I was enjoying the thing I wanted–a high school soccer tournament for girls.

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