Before the cult:
I am the daughter of a soccer player. My dad has loved and lived soccer since before I was born. His skills in high school earned him a scholarship to play on a local college team. After college he went on to play for the B team of the Seattle Sounders. Presently he coaches and does personal training. The entire time we were in the cult, he did not play or coach. I cannot imagine how this loss affected him, though he never showed anguish. We would still watch soccer on television, and he would play with us kids as much as possible. Soccer is his life, and I am inspired while watching him coach, just as I was when watching him play. Yesterday I was driving by the soccer fields and saw Dad’s truck there. My oldest son says “Grandpa’s coaching, let’s go watch him!” So I pulled the car into the parking lot. I let them out to run, and told them all the things that I remember Mom telling me, “Don’t go past the white line, watch out for soccer balls, wait until they are done playing to run up to your Grandpa.” I felt that I had stepped back in time, but was viewing it from a different perspective. Dad spotted my boys, and the look of joy on his face brought instant tears to my eyes. I remember this. I remember him running to the side to say hi to Brother and I. I remember how happy he was to see us, just as he is happy to see my boys. Now they will remember.
Memory: There are always places to play close to where Dad plays soccer. An empty field close by, some trees, or a track. I always watch Dad play for a little while, but Brother and I eventually stray. Our imaginations call us away from the match. I love watching gymnastics on T.V., and I have dreams of competing. Mom took me to some classes, and practice what I have learned in the empty grassy field. I imagine I am in the middle of an arena, and the grass is the floor covered in gymnastic mats. I set myself up and then cartwheel, round-off, flip, and somersault my way across the field. I picture myself being a gymnast so clearly that I never imagined it wouldn’t come true. Brother would eventually get tired of watching me or trying to do gymnastics himself so we would find an activity we could do together. We would have races, or find trees and fences to climb. He ran faster than me, so I didn’t like to race him. Never bored, we would play until we heard a whistle signaling the end of the match. Though I usually liked to be at the sidelines before the whistle blew, so that we could see the end of the game and watch Dad leave the field with his team. He always looked so happy, and that happiness was infectious. I know he made the whole team happy because he was a talented, energetic player. He knew how to move and how to move the team as one. Mom always looked happy too. She never cared about Dad’s sweaty hugs (gross), or spitting water (gross again). We would celebrate, clean up the field, and then would stop at 7-11 for Slurpee’s on the way home!
I like to remember that life; growing up on the sidelines of the soccer field. Soccer is a sport that is comforting to me, because it is familiar. I love watching my Dad move around the field because he is comfortable. It is a beautiful thing to watch someone in a position for which they were destined. My Dad suffered (silently) a great loss for many years. I am proud that he never gave up on his dream.