Eldest Corner KickSo our eldest had his first Challenge match this weekend, in Greensboro. Of course, because we like chaos (and probably deep down crave a stay in a padded room), our day did not consist of us relaxing at home preparing for this afternoon away match. No no. That would have been the smart thing to do. Instead, Soccer Dad was at our local fields at, oh 8:30 to help open the concession stand for the day’s slate of matches and help collect paperwork. Then at 10AM, our daughter had her first U8 match (she scored!). Oh yeah – I’m her coach so I was sorta busy too. They did very well. Oh and lest you think Soccer Mom had it easy, er no. She had a 2 year old and 3 year old to chase and is also the team manager so she had paperwork to get, a sideline to keep organized, etc. Then we wound down, helped out a bit with various league things, and got ready to meet the rest of the Eldest’s team at a local parking lot before heading to Greensboro for the team’s first match. No problem! Yeah… that’s the ticket.

We rush off the fields at 12:20 and reach the parking lot before most of the team (12:30 was the planned departure time). I drop Soccer Mom off at the rendezvous point (we’re here!) and fly down the street to McDonald’s (I think youth sports are a key reason why parents nationwide are getting fat – all fast food all the time!) We fly back to the parking lot where the kids are getting their hair painted blue. The coaches are inside, so I stroll in.

"Soccer Dad – do you know how to get there?" I got to use a line I’d been saving for SO long. "Sorry man, I’m just a lowly spectator in this whole operation!" HAHAHAHAHA See this was both coaches’ first Challenge match too. They looked like expectant fathers pacing in the delivery room. OK, lets pull up the directions off MapQuest. We click the directions link off the Challenge league website and MapQuest says "6105 Townsend Road? Never heard of it – how about 6105 Lake Townsend road?" OK, well – sure. It shows a spot just north of Greensboro, looks good! But Soccer Dad is nervous, so he fires up the laptop with attached GPS and puts in 6105 Lake Townsend Road – voila – there it is. No problem. And off we go.

By now we’re running a little bit late, but it looks like we can back road it, avoid going into the city, and get there in plenty of time. The other folks decide to take all highway and rely on the MapQuest sheet and are about 5 minutes ahead of us (we had to swing by the local complex for a couple minutes, of course). Well the trip was uneventful and we reach the home stretch on Hwy 29. Now the program zooms in and instead of the ‘dot’ being right off Hwy 29, well, it’s right in the middle of… nowhere. No roads, nothing. Soccer Dad frantically calls another car. "Yeah, we’re just coming up on the complex now. There’s signs to Bryan Park all over" Hmmm. Soccer Dad tries not to panic. Eldest is in his seat, very nervous. Soccer Mom is in dire need of a Prozac.

So we turn around and head back towards civilization. Meanwhile, Soccer Dad thinks it might be worth seeing if Street Atlas knows 6105 Townsend Road. Voila! There it is! Ironically at the interchange where we got ONTO Hwy 29 in the first place. So we try not to get a ticket and fly back from whence we came. We had beaten the caravan by like 2 minutes via our back road route, but ended up heading like 5 miles too far north. I hate you MapQuest. From this day forward I’m mapping out EVERY trip in Street Atlas ahead of time using the provided address, not one MapQuest ‘thinks’ is right. What was I thinking? Here’s a shout out to Greensboro for having signs to the park everywhere. The rest of the team would have been as lost as we were, but managed to see signs at the right exit before they went too far north.

So we come up on the complex… just as a freight train rumbles through. Sit, breath deep, still 30 minutes before kickoff. 28… 27… 26… #3 announces "Daddy I have to go potty!" Gate up! Soccer Dad exhales. Cross the railroad and see a sign ‘Fields 1-11 turn left, fields 12-20something straight’. Yeah, the schedule with the field number was in the back of the van in my bag. Oh sh**. Frantic cellphone dialing and at the last minute I turn left, unable to stop with a huge line of cars behind me. ‘Coach – what field?’ ’15A, we think…’ @#$^%^#@#$% So we turn around. Ah great – now I have to turn left across all the oncoming traffic heading towards the right field. Not good. Oh look! Another train is coming – the gates come down and all oncoming traffic stops so we make the left turn without even slowing down. Maybe Murphy isn’t such a jerk after all.

Who ever said soccer was boring? 🙂

Eldest’s team played very well, going up 2-0 early (Soccer Dad beams – Eldest scored both off great passes/kicks from teammates), but they got tired in the heat and the other team slowly worked their way out of the hole, winning 4-2. But it was a great match and both teams played very well. My daughter really enjoyed catching part of a U16ish age girls match on the field next to ours. "Daddy – when I’m their age I want to play in the World Cup!" You go girl.

Oh and LDSM – his Challenge team name is the MYSA Strikers 🙂 I swear I had NOTHING to do with it.