Fatherhood Adventures – November 25, 2016

Fatherhood Adventures – November 25, 2016
new fatherhood headshot

It was nearly 9 on a Friday night and we were driving 30 mph on a dark backroad in Pennsylvania.

One of the many thoughts going through my head at that time was how my life has changed over the years. Another thought was why in the world GPS led us to this small Amish enclave in central Pennsylvania when our hotel was supposedly just off the interstate.

There was a time when Friday nights meant time out with friends at a local watering hole after work, relaxing at home with a pizza and a movie or enjoying a nice dinner at a restaurant. Fast forward to last Friday night, on the heels of a pediatrician appointment that lasted a lot longer than expected, we were seeking out our hotel in an area that was oddly void of street lights for a weekend in the Lancaster, Pa. area for a youth soccer tournament.

Some of the highlights of the weekend away were:

  • Over the course of the weekend, I kept remembering what a friend once told me about how my social life would change as a parent. He wasn’t talking about the lack of nights out with friends so much as he was referring to how parents’ social life basically revolves around that of their children. Their social life becomes your life, I remember him warning.

That went through my head as I watched my 8-year-old son sit in a hot tub in a Comfort Inn in Columbia, Pa. at 10 p.m. on a Friday. We thought we had the whole place to ourselves until a girls team invaded the area and eventually hovered over the hot tub long enough that Beckett felt uncomfortable and was willing to give it up.

At his age, Beckett hasn’t exactly discovered the allure of girls yet. He definitely seems to prefer they did not exist, particularly after they cut into his pool time. On the way out, he did the boy thing and cannon balled the few that were still in the pool on their way to the now vacated hot tub.

•GPS is a wonderful thing, but there are times when it can get you lost. One such time was the way to our second game on Saturday afternoon.

Not being familiar with the area, I was blindly following every instruction of the GPS because I didn’t know better. At some point, we were on a back road that intercepted multiple farms when I started seeing the “No Outlet” signs. I kept going, trusting GPS would get us there.

Eventually, it did but not before Beckett had his first encounter with the Amish. While it turns out the Amish aren’t much for giving directions, Beckett did have some fun admiring their horse and buggy and their attire. He even invited them to ride with us to his soccer game. They respectfully declined that as well as the option to look at a Ronaldo goal on his iPad.

•While he knows about Wawa and Royal Farms, it was the Sheetz convenience store that may be Beckett’s fondest memory of the trip.

While I marveled over all the options at the espresso bar inside the store, Beckett discovered the massive candy aisle. Since we were on our way to a game, I told him he could only get something to drink this time and promised him we would come back.

Later, when we did, he headed straight to the milk shake machine and fell in love. That was officially his first request for Santa.

•By far my most proud moment came during the division final when Beckett let his emotions get the best of him. He plays soccer like he lives. He’s emotional and wears his feelings on his sleeve all the time. That can be good and bad.

During the championship game of his division on a frigid Sunday afternoon, which featured temperatures in the mid-30s with 40 mph winds, his team fell behind 2-0 and were trailing 2-1 at halftime. After about five minutes had gone by in the second half, they were trailing 3-2. When he missed a shot on goal that he would normally have made, he broke down a little as he was running back to midfield for the opposing team’s goal kick.

I tried to talk him up from the sidelines but it was a teammate’s father whose words made the most impact. He said something along the lines of keep his head up and “this is your time, your moment is coming.” He made eye contact with the guy, fought back the tears of the moment and pumped his fist.

Five minutes later, Beckett made a beautiful cross to a teammate to tie the game at 3-3. A few minutes later, he intercepted a pass and found another teammate for a 4-3 advantage. Their team went on to win by a score of 7-3.

While I do hope he learns to contain his emotions in the future, this was a special moment and a great memory. He dealt with the adversity and overcame. It was a sign of maturity and why sports can teach so much. He took all the negative and pessimistic emotions that had brought him to the emotional brink and channeled them into motivation. He overcame what appeared to be a sense of panic over the reality that his team might actually lose their first game of the tournament in the finale.

In the end, that didn’t happen and he learned a valuable lesson that day.

While I joked about the oddity of being in central Pennsylvania all weekend, the reality was there was no place I would have rather been.

About The Author: Steven Green

Alternative Text

The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.