Shoelaces. He stopped everything he was doing. For shoelaces.

*    *    *

When we first met, Amy’d never watched a soccer game from start to finish ever. In her entire life. By the time we got married, that’d changed… a lot.

Growing up, Jordan’s name and the word “soccer ” were synonymous. He spent every spare childhood moment with cleats on his feet. From a young age, he even slept with a soccer ball with an orange Nike Swoosh on it, instead of a stuffed animal, because one of his coaches told him it’d make him a better player. He played on one of the best youth teams in the nation and captained his college team. And that’s what we mean when we say Jordan’s name and “soccer” could almost always be found in the same sentence.

As you know, we started dating when we were only seniors in high school, so, as you can imagine, Amy quickly found herself in the stands of a lot of soccer games over the years. She went from not understanding a thing to being able to call out, “Off-sides!” and “Good idea!” with the best of ’em. Or, at least, fake it, like the best of ’em.

When we were newly married, Jordan coached youth soccer as a way to give back to the game that gave him so much, and also to make a little extra money to help make ends meet. He started by coaching a team of eighth grade boys, and Amy would make regular appearances at their games. Those boys were rough and tough. Their pace was fast and the tackles were hard. They were passionate about victory and absolutely crushed during defeat. They lived and breathed the game.

Then Jordan took on another team.

This team was a little different.

Their voices were high. The uniforms were big. And they ate orange slices during half time.

Youth Soccer_0001

This team was full of six and seven-year-old little boys. Amy was pretty excited to watch their first official game with Coach Jordan. She laid a blanket down on the sidelines of the tiny park and watched the kids go to work. The whistle blew. The parents cheered. Jordan encouraged. It was like a mini-version of every game she’d seen before.

Except.

We envied his ability to forget about all the noise and all the chaos swirling around him and his ability to focus on the one thing that was right in front of him

Except, in the heat of the game, right in the middle of all the action, Amy watched a six-year-old little boy, Diego, stop everything he was doing, ignore the opposing team, and run to the sidelines, so his dad could tie his shoes. She quickly cupped her mouth with her hands to hide the silent laughter that was billowing inside of her. The crowd of parents were all shouting a different piece of advice, and that tiny park got louder and louder and louder. “Run, Diego, Run!” Amy looked over at Coach Jordan,
who could also barely maintain composure as he demanded that little guy get back in the game. On the way home, we couldn’t stop laughing about Jordan’s newest, tiniest player who stopped everything. For shoelaces. We talked about what it was like to be a kid. When everything was simple. And the more we talked, the more we decided we admired that little guy. We envied his ability to forget about all the noise and all the chaos swirling around him and his ability to focus on the one thing that was right in front of him. Shoelaces.

Every once in a while, we still talk about that first game. Because we, like all of you, have a lot of noise and chaos swirling around in our busy lives. Sometimes it feels so overwhelming that we’re not sure which direction to go or where to find the goal in the first place. But, sometimes, we just need to think like Diego. We need to have enough courage to ignore everything around us and stop for the things that are right in front of us. Time with family, dinner with friends, walks around the neighborhood or snuggling together on the couch. The things that might seem basic, but the things that we actually can’t move forward without. Sometimes we need to stop. For our shoelaces.

Run

Want to catch up on The Pink Slip Files? You can read them all right here:

Intro: What Are the Pink Slip Files?
No. 1: Failing Pre-Marital Class & Otter DNA
No. 2: Sink or Swim
No. 3: Turning Off the Lights
No. 4: Leave a Message at the Tone
No. 5: Chocolates, Mystery Shows & Honeymooning
No. 6: Cutting Coupons & Wal-Mart Jeans
No. 7: Paper Chains of Memories
No. 8: Dancing on Bar Tops
No. 9: Man’s Best (Feline) Friend
No. 10: Confessions of a Waffle Fry
No. 11: What’s So Important About Shoelaces?
No. 12: Breaking Records… Like It’s 1924
No. 13: Why We’re Not as Classy as We Thought
No. 14: A Letter to My Only Starbucks Lover
No. 15: The Night We Killed Someone (Kind Of)
No. 16: Lord, It’s a Fire!

 

1 comment

    Jessica Haley

    I love this! Amy you are lucky you met Jordan young enough to watch his games... my husband was an amazing lacrosse player and I've literally never seen him play... at least not outside our backyard.. but now he's coaching little boys and it's so fun to watch him on the sidelines! :)