Fun times -- now back to work
Talk about a blast from the past. I was home in New Jersey over the weekend, running my two annual kids’ soccer camps, and had the opportunity to watch some of my favorite childhood bands as well. I went with three high school friends to Atlantic City to see the Package Tour: NKOTB. That’s right, New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees, all sharing one stage.
It was pretty amazing, though I wish 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men had played a little longer. I was young when New Kids became popular, and Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees were more my era. One of my favorite singers is, and has always been, Nick Lachey, and 98 Degrees played some of my favorite songs -- “Because of You” and "Sunshine After the Rain."
I’ll admit I also liked Joey and Jordan from NKOTB. It’s funny -- I remember buying magazines with pullout posters that I'd rip out and hang on my wall. I’m pretty sure I had Boyz II Men on repeat on my portable CD player. And here I am going to a concert with these bands, all these years later. We had a lot of laughs that night, and it brought us back to our teenager days!
Besides the general awesomeness of the concert, it was great being home because the soccer camps went really well. It was a joy to interact with the kids, teach them the drills I do and share with them the struggles and obstacles I’ve overcome and the mental habits I swear by.
It’s very important that the kids get to interact with me at my camp. I like the campers to leave there with an experience they will never forget, and I want them to see that I'm a simple, down-to-earth person and have worked hard to achieve my dreams. So, beyond learning drills, the campers learn all of the off-the-field habits that I live by. I’m actually talking to them and they get to ask me questions, from what I eat on game days (I keep it light: salad, fruit and plenty of water) to when I knew I wanted to be a pro (the truth is, I can’t pinpoint a moment).
It's a pretty cool feeling to know that the information and training is impacting them in their soccer and lives. One girl had done a biography of me for school! She brought in the poster she’d used in her project. She'd drawn a picture of me in my uniform and had written a lot of facts about me on it. Stuff like that that really puts things into perspective for me, and makes me realize I can have a bigger effect on others than I realize. What a great day!
After that unforgettable weekend, I'm back in Buffalo with the Flash. With only five regular season games left, the playoffs are coming up fast at the end of August. We've been sitting in fourth place for a while, which is pretty nerve-wracking because only four teams make the playoffs. But I keep reminding myself that slow and steady wins the race, and as long as we earn a playoff spot we have a good shot of winning the whole thing.
Our last game, against Sky Blue on July 21, was a big win, and our next game, on Wednesday against the Spirit, will be an important one, too. We’ve gotta win, but I’m not worried. We’re meshing well as a team and have learned our teammates' game tendencies. I feel as if I’m starting to really get better at my role, and used to the great players around me. It takes time to gel as a team and we are finding our form at the right time. Training has been intense and the confidence level of our entire team is high.
I’m feeling really good physically and mentally, and can't wait for the upcoming challenges. We have a great coach and great players and if we all do our part, I'm confident we will make the playoffs. Let’s go Flash!