So our oldest kid started playing team soccer this fall. His mother insisted, and being the passive little guy he is, he dutifully showed a slight interest so we were a go. We signed him up and when doing this we discovered that when they say all families must volunteer they aren’t screwing around. It’s a mantra with them. “Everyone Volunteers” a group of monks chanted. I knew this meant me, Dr. Wife is more in the “idea business”, I’m the crew.
I went down the list of jobs that needed filling and selected “field management” which I figured meant helping with the folding net and throwing some cones around or something. Then I got the email telling me the one day that the training class would be held. 7am in two days. Well that gave me plenty of time to change my crazy schedule to go, how professional of them. “Everyone is a volunteer” I told myself.
So 48 hours later there I am, clutching a tuned up coffee in my hand standing in wet grass with two other dads being lectured by a crusty guy who must have taught high school P.E. at some point. He looked at me and the two other dads and then looked at his clipboard. “There’s supposed to be nine of you.” He said. “Well I ain’t waiting it’s seven, follow me.”
We followed him like ducks to a shed and collected some boxes of spray paint and line painting carts. He walked us through shaking the cans like he was talking to three-year olds. “Hey no prob, I used to be a tagger! Can I do the team logo in the center?” I offered. He was not amused and let my joke die slowly like a wounded duck.
So we fell in line and followed his instructions. We all took turns painting lines on the field. We just traced the old ones from last week. “So when I paint my teams field how do I know how to make it nice?” A dad asked. “Well you just look at the end point and walk slowly so it doesn’t turn into Chinese Noodles.” Crusty replied. Then he realized the dad was Asian. “Shit, sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.”
Another comment that died like a duck.
“You guys don’t have to worry, the paint from the week before will be there so just go over it. Me and another guy who’ve been at it for years do the first round so no sweat.” Crusty finished the lesson and sent us off. I glanced back at the laser straight lines in admiration, I just hoped that I would do Crusty proud.
Two weeks later it was my turn. Of course the show I was working on the night before went long so with four hours of sleep I cracked open the shed at my kid’s field. I dutifully loaded the trolley with a case of paint and headed out to the field. I had my headphones in and Judas Priest to help me, it could be fun.
I walked onto the grass and there it was… my blank canvas. Oh shit. The sprinklers had been left on too long on this patch of grass.
I checked my watch, there was a game in an hour and I had to figure out how to measure and paint two soccer fields for the under seven division. Cold sweat formed on my brow. I turned into a C.S.I. agent. I needed paint traces, anything to piece together what the fields used to look like.
I combed the field for clues, a few flecks of white paint here, some blue there. Between the two fields I recreated the critical measurements using the ultra precise method of counting footsteps and using my thumb as a visual reference. I think it turned out pretty well. The best part is next Saturday someone will use my fields as a template!