J is for the Jazz

Before confusion sets in let me say the Jazz is not Jazz music. While I do enjoy all types of music this is about a different kind of Jazz.

Jersey, Cleats and Nostalgia

I played for the Jazz from 1996-2002, ages 8 to 14. That is a lot of time in kid years. Soccer was my life when I was growing up. It was my identity.

There are many memories, some more vivid than others, that are stirred up as the fall weather makes its appearance. There were the countless hours I spent in my dad’s Saturn driving to games all over Jersey. The myriad of tournaments we played in, where often the highlight of the day was getting to eat junk food, a hot dog wrapped in tin foil and a can of coke. There was the breakaway on a rainy day where I shot the ball and promptly slipped on to my back in the mud. As I spun around and stared at the gray sky I remember hearing the cheers from the sidelines. As soon as I heard it I knew my shot had found the net. It was like a scene from a movie.

I’m thankful for all the things being on a team taught me. The value of practice, perseverance, responsibility, teamwork, self-control, graciously winning and losing, and the list goes on. I’m still learning many of those lessons.

I’m especially thankful that my father was the assistant coach for all those years. It didn’t occur to me until a few years after I played my last game how lucky I was to have him there (even when he drove me crazy). He sacrificed time and energy to be at all the games (and many practices). I wish I could tell him how much it means to me now but, I guess the best thing I can do is do the same for my own kids someday.


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