When I was growing up there was a box of trophies in the garage… probably a couple of dozen. For much of my early childhood I remember playing with, and I think breaking, a few of them including one that looked exactly like the one in the picture.
We used to go to dad’s games when I was very young – that’s him, first row second from the left. I wish I had spent more time watching him play, but I had other important things to do, like skipping rocks and looking for bugs – basically just being a little kid.
Years later I played soccer in high school and remember travelling to an opponent’s field… my name was announced over the stadium speaker during warm-ups and some guy I didn’t know made his way out of the stands and onto the field and asked me if George was my dad. I said he was. The man shook my hand and told me that my dad was the best soccer player he ever saw. I said thank you, but not much more, I was just a dumb teenager, probably 16 at the time. I’m pretty sure this kind stranger wasn’t impressed with my stoic response and certainly wasn’t impressed with my skills, as I was an average player who took up the game just a couple of years earlier.
As time passed, the box got moved around, I lost interest and now I’m not even sure it still exists. I think a copy of the team picture was tucked into an old photo album too, I’m not sure.
My dad has been gone for many years now, but that impromptu meeting on the field always stayed with me. As I aged, I learned to appreciate that moment more. Through an odd happenstance I found this picture online and the level of appreciation seems to have elevated even higher.
I miss my dad.