Mate’s Day

My Mate woke up at seven o’clock Saturday morning so he could shower, then he rallied all of the rest of us.

I don’t move quickly in the morning. Neither do our children.

He jollied us all out the door and was on his way to McDonalds for mom’s coffee, when we got a phone call, and he had to turn around because somebody needed him because he delegated a task to somebody and they just don’t measure up to my Mate.

We turned back around and he drove us to where our son’s team played the first game of soccer he was responsible for that day.

We lost, and Squishie scratched her ass on a broken piece of playground equipment.

Mate is depressed. His team is mostly new, because he lost the kids he’d been coaching for YEARS in a big league age bracket shuffle, but dammit… if he just could have coached better, they would have won.

We head back to another sports complex, where first he has to make sure new coaches know how to sign into a game, and he checks in on them, makes sure the kids are doing okay and the coaches aren’t spittle blasting idiots who scream and throw things (they’re not, but he’s had a few of those–he hates that) and then he has to warm up our daughter’s team.

They too are mostly new. Their coach last year couldn’t coach again and Mate took over the team. Again, he’s lost a lot of kids for the age re-org and the coach re-org, and he’s got kids there who actually hate soccer and don’t know why they’re on the field.

He tries to give them a reason to be on the field.

They lose.

He feels bad. If he could have just coached them better, he thinks, they would have won.

I take the kids home, because they’re hot, sweaty, whiny, hungry, needy, thirsty and one more dwarf I can’t remember, and an hour later, I go back and get him.

He’s stayed to ref a game, because they are short on refs this year because a lot of our old refs graduated.

When I get back, I help him pick up cones and drive them to the maintenance shed in the final act of cleanup. We left the house at 7:30 in the morning and it’s now 4 p.m..

“What do you want to eat?” I ask him.

“Whatever you want.”

“No. You get what you want. Anything you want. ANYTHING you want.”

“Beach Hut?”

It’s done. Beach Hut it is.

We walk in the door and I say, “Kids, off the TV. Dad gets the TV. Anything he wants.”

The kids bail– no argument, no, “But I was just–“

The TV is his. Rest of the night. No arguments.

And that’s how it goes. Dad gets the TV, Dad gets the remote, Dad gets the food, picks the movie, gets the soda, the dessert.

Because Dad’s sort of a hero. And he’s had a long day.

And we can’t get him a palanquin or extra refs or a winning day on the field.

But we’ll do what we can.

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