Dave Collects Forms, Finally Reaches Adulthood

Four years ago, I volunteered to coach my son's travel soccer team, and I felt mature and responsible and civic-minded . . . I'm helping the community! . . . I'm helping my family! . . . I'm a good role model for the youth! . . . but that was idealistic collegiate bullshit; coaching kids was mainly fun and easy, especially if you already know what you're doing . . .  all I had to do was show up with the equipment and a good attitude; it took an unfortunate sequence of events has show me the light on what comprises real civic and parental duty: I lost two team managers in the past two seasons, and so I elected to "take one for the team" and manage as well as coach this summer (temporarily, I hope) and now I realize who was doing the real work-- it's not setting up fun and fundamental drills and games to encourage team play, skillful soccer, and player development . . . adulthood is collecting checks and birth certificates and medical release forms, checking them over, learning what a "tape runner" is so you can affix a one inch by one inch photo onto the league approved cardstock, printing rosters onto stickers, disbursing referee money, communicating with the ref assigner, and a hundred other details that I've learned from the elders of the tribe (mainly women) and while I consider the registration system an insane bureaucratic nightmare, it's one of those byzantine realpolitik labyrinths that you have to navigate in order to participate . . . so while it's easy to change the line-up if a kid is sick, or switch practice plans to focus on a different skill, or run a new set-piece play-- which is what makes coaching so much fun-- it's really hard to change how the Mid-New Jersey Youth Soccer Association works, and so the real heroes are the people laboring under the yoke of those rules and regulations . . . I hope I can convince some civic-minded, team-spirited, gullible parent into taking this job off my hands, but I'm glad I'm learning how it works, because not only will I appreciate (and be able to advise) future team managers, but-- once I get this team registered) I will finally feel like a real adult (not the way I usually feel: like a surly teen masquerading masquerading as a real adult, with a bunch of props to lend my costume veracity: wife, kids, dog, house, two mundane cars, etc.)

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