As I parked the car and walked towards the soccer fields, a thousand memories flooded back to me like high tide during a blizzard. How many times had I walked this exact path and how many times had I stood in this same exact spot only a short twenty years ago. The flashbacks continued as I passed the field where my eldest daughter’s team won the 16+ championship going undefeated the whole season. As I searched the dozens of fields looking for my family, it again occurred to me that I was now standing on the spot where I once stood, Dunkin Donut’s coffee in my hand, watching all three of my daughters play on different fields. It was the perfect position to rotate and catch bits and pieces of each of their games. This only happened when by chance their games were at the same exact time.
A melancholy feeling came over me as I pondered how time had passed me by so quickly and I experienced a brief, but sad moment. So much had changed in the past twenty years. Family members and friends who once stood right next to me watching my young daughters, no longer here . . . and it made me terribly sad. I continued to walk as my wife and daughters waved to me to let me know where they were standing and then I saw the reason why I was here again . . . My four year old granddaughter Winnie.
As I approached the field, I received a smile, a wave and a; “Hi Papa!” A smile that stretched from one ear to the other replaced any grief or sadness that I may have felt at that moment and I began to chuckle as I watched the crowd of four year old’s attempt to play the game of soccer. My chuckling soon became belly laughing as I watched my granddaughter run and kick the ball, not caring where it was going or which end of the field the ball should be directed towards. And I cheered and I clapped . . . and I watched as “my” daughter watched “her” daughter just as I had done twenty years ago. . . and I was proud. If being prideful is a sin, then I am guilty, but not in a conceited way.
The walk back to our cars was filled with high fives, hugs and praises for a game well played and now I can’t wait til next week. Soccer season has begun again, twenty years later, but it felt like I had never left.