Thunder Win the Local
It’s been about a month since your humble correspondent has issued a newsletter. I do bill this as an “occasional, and most often on a Friday” publication! If you’ve worried about me, even for a second, all apologies. If you haven’t given my silence a second thought, whew! I can only hope! We have lives to live out there in the real world. Not on the internet! Newsletters like this one are intended to be read around the edges for entertainment, information, connection, and a little fun. Now, to the notes!
In May of 2021 I wrote about a few experiences coaching youth soccer. That was at the conclusion of a spring campaign. The spring season differs from the fall. In the fall, each division concludes with a local tournament whose winner advances to a regional championship tournament hosted in the Dallas area.
This fall, we won the local.
In the final, Thunder won over Leopards on penalties. It was a tough match, tightly contested and intensely fought by two spent teams. In the books, the score reads 2-1. We ended regulation and two overtime periods even at one. In penalties, we prevailed 4-3. The image above shows the boys on our team who had shot, four who converted and two who had missed, and one exhausted coach, as our goalkeeper pushed a shot attempt up and over the crossbar to secure the win.
Earlier that day, Thunder prevailed over Falcons in a game that had just about everything. A Falcons player scored from midfield on a blast that bounced oddly, that was aided by strong wind, and that fooled our goalkeeper, who squinted into the sun. Both teams had penalties; we missed ours, and later entered the box early on Falcons’ first penalty attempt, giving them an opportunity to convert on their second chance, which they did. Falcons put us in the hole 2-0 early. We were level at half, and fell behind again early in the second half. Thunder came back and won 5-3. My son scored four goals and assisted on the fifth.
I’m very pleased that the opposing coaches and their teams were kind and demonstrated class, gentlemen I’ve coached against for several seasons now. The officiating was not perfect. It never is. But they did their best. The players did their best. The parents offered their best, I think. Sportsmanship was on display.
As someone who has been coaching in a local soccer association for six years, this season was deeply satisfying. Players grew, team concepts were learned, and a community formed around the team. I’ve grown. My goals for the regional tournament are the same as those I’ve kept before us for the past two seasons: to improve, to do our best, and to have fun.
The game is for the players, for their growth, their fun, their joy, and their opportunity to discover how to work together, how to challenge themselves, and how to improve through dedication, diligence, and hard work.
It’s been a pleasure to serve.
Yes, I am still reading Chernow’s Washington.
Yes, I continue reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.
I finished Jacques Ellul’s Humiliation of the Word, Andrew Root’s Faith Formation in a Secular Age, Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength.: A Narrative History of InterVarsity Press, 1947-2022 by Andrew T. Le Peau and Linda Doll, Henri J. M. Nouwen’s Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life, and Timothy Keller’s Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I?
After feeling stuck when it comes to finishing books, I’ve turned the final page in five this last month!
I bought the collection of Nouwen’s letters in 2017, and just now got around to reading it. The Keller book released on Tuesday (I pre-ordered it, and my copy arrived late Monday), and I had finished it by Wednesday. I recommend both books.
What else am I cracking open? I’m reading Gary Scott Smith’s Strength for the Fight: The Life and Faith of Jackie Robinson for a review I’ll submit at the turn of the year, Plato’s Symposium, and Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism. I’ve been moving a lot of our books around, which puts me back in contact with a number of titles that I’d like to revisit or read for the first time. So many good books!
Sights and Sounds
I shared my November music playlist on the blog.
Since the last time I mentioned my viewing habits, I’ve watched a lot of stuff: Hard Eight (1996), Grown Ups (2010), The Wedding Singer (1998), Wrongfully Accused (1998), Kroos (2019), Pitch Black (2000), Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012), Pixels (2015), Battleship (2012), Warcraft (2016), and Hitman (2007).
I also finished watching Cowboy Bebop (1998-1999), which I enjoyed immensely.
Of the movies I’ve listed, I enjoyed Hard Eight, a Paul Thomas Anderson film starring Phillip Baker Hall, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. Reilly, and Samuel L. Jackson, the most. Wikipedia says the movie “follows the life of a senior gambler and a homeless man.” And it does. And really, that’s pretty much what the movie is about. It’s not a complete story. It’s a snapshot, a vignette, a moment in time, allowing for character development, interesting cinematography, and mystery.
I also enjoyed The Wedding Singer, which I saw in the theater in 1998. I am not really a fan of romantic comedy, and I know this is an Adam Sandler film, but I think this movie is perfect, all the way down to Billy Idol.
Wrongfully Accused was also a nice surprise, starring Leslie Nielsen, and could scarcely believe how entertained I was by Warcraft. I didn’t even know they made the movie Battleship; maybe I did know, but found the concept ridiculous at the time. It is both a science fiction and pro-Navy film, with space lizards!
Lastly, Universal Soldiers: Day of Reckoning was horrifying and horrible, excessively dark, violent, disturbing, and absurd. Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren reprise their roles from the original film in this sixth installment in the franchise. That fact bowled me over. I can’t believe I watched this film through the final scene. I’m a glutton for punishment.
On the blog: bad timing at the hair salon, the importance of trust and how it works, how to think about personal growth, Oswald Chambers’ on the centrality of faithfulness in ordinary things, a definition of Christian spiritual formation, thoughts on teaching as a Christian educator, and George Saunders’ writing shed.
Before I go, standard copy.
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Be well this week. Bless others.
P.S. - Our side after the final, minus one player who was unavailable on Sunday. All credit to the players for winning the local. The accomplishment is theirs.