Tonight was our last practice of the season.
Last practice… As usual, we had coaches vs. kids scrimmage. We did have some modification to this routine: these are hard running 12 year old players, at our age with all our wounds and injuries it’s tough to keep up with youth so we had three of the boys play for us; in total it was 5 v 8 and the game was somewhat even.
Last practice… We still have three more games to play, which is fairly uncommon: these are the make ups due to rain outs. This fact controverses my feelings quite a bit: I am still going to see them three more times, just not at practices.
Last practice… In years of coaching you learn to accept this unfortunate fact: the toughest part of this racket is to let go and realize that you may never see some of these kids again. Sure, it’s a small town, sure, many adults will cross a street to approach and check how you’re doing while you are unlikely to recognize them and just pretend to remember in order not to offend anybody, and of course you will coach some of these boys in the future seasons and bump into others here and there. As for the rest – you are very unlikely to see them.
Last practice and letting go… Every beginning of the season – every first meeting – you watch new boys to come to the field, some confident, some shy and unsure, some eager to play, some indifferent, and you keep thinking: “I don’t know their names just yet but soon – very soon – will know who they are, will know their personalities and their characters”, and you do find out all those things, but then – before you have time to blink – and definitely much sooner than you want, much much sooner, it’s time to let them go.
And all you have to look forward in front of you now is the last game. Because in this season you already had your last practice.
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