In the midst of a Summer characterized by lounging about the house...wasting time...and being as purposely unproductive as humanly possible, Derek recently had to switch gears and...make a decision. (Gasp! In case you're wondering: yes, the process DID almost cause him bodily harm. Fortunately, he wrestled through it...) You see, back in the Springtime, the high school soccer coach had held an "interest meeting", to discuss next year's team. Derek, of course, attended that informational session...yet managed to provide almost no concrete details about it to his parents when all was said and done. (I know: shocker, right? Ah...teenagers...gotta love 'em...)
However, one thing Coach C. had mentioned that stuck with my son was the potential for a camp-type-situation in the Summer, to focus on conditioning and skill development. And whattya know, the time for that seemed to be approaching. As it turned out, I obtained the relevant facts just in time, since the camp would be held the last week in July and we had to sign up immediately in order for Derek to participate. So here came that choice I alluded to earlier--did he want to essentially give up 4 days of his freedom...to run around in the heat and generally work his butt off training for the soccer season...a week before he absolutely had to? He waffled about it for a couple of days, his only stated concern being "I'm not sure I have 12-hours-a-day of soccer in me!"
But in the end, he wisely determined that the upsides made it worthwhile to go--such as the fact that it would be held at UNC (3 miles away), and run by their professional NCAA coaching staff, who would be sharing their invaluable experience, techniques, and wisdom with the players. Another obvious perk was that Coach C. would be there as an observer, basically scouting his own potential players a week before tryouts...which you can't help but think might give them an edge when it came time for him to select his team's roster.
Therefore Derek geared himself up for the whole thing--drills, strategy sessions, cardiovascular workouts, games...and whatnot. (All of which would undoubtedly involve copious amounts of exertion...and sweat...) Mostly when he returned home between blocks of training, he reported that it seemed to be going well...but there was one glaring exception. When we registered him, the only option was "with meals"--which sounded absolutely great at the time. They'll feed him there, and we won't have to bother with packing food, keeping it cold, worrying that he has enough, etc. So the first evening, he went to the cafeteria for dinner. Strangely enough, this actually involved a parent shuttling him from the fields--which were not located exactly on campus--to the dining location, and then back for the evening match. Husband took the first shift, and when Derek got back into his car after eating...he promptly....ahem...regurgitated his delightful meal...including copious amounts of red Powerade that he'd consumed...all over the car. (Which I then temporarily dubbed the Yackmobile...thanking the heavens it wasn't MY vehicle!)
Oh. Dear. That, by the way, was Derek's first, extremely unpleasant, run-in with campus cuisine...needless to say, he was much less than thrilled. (But I've heard it said that UNC's food is really quite good--so I can only assume that they're using a different service for the lowly campers who are only there for a couple of days!) Upon finishing for the night and telling me the story, he cheerfully relayed that as soon as he'd thrown up, he felt perfectly fine. And he added reassuringly, "It didn't affect my playing at all!" (Awww, thank you, honey--because that's definitely what I was most concerned about! Sheesh...) Incidentally, the next day at lunch he only attempted 2 bites before feeling queasy and giving up. So we gave up on that, and instead started sending him with fruit, and energy bars, and lots of his own snacks. (So much for that extra $75 the camp charged for food!)
Meanwhile, the middle 2 days were the longer, more intense ones, and Derek would come home dragging with fatigue. In fact, one day he passed by me in the hallway, and when I asked where he was heading, he lethargically raised one arm a couple of inches, waved it weakly in a general-forward direction, and...grunted. Seriously, he was so exhausted that "caveman" was all he could muster in the way of meaningful communication at that point in time. But by the second afternoon, he summoned just enough pep to deliver a (totally fake) mini-rant: "That's it, sports are STUPID! I'm taking up...shuffleboard! Yeah! Just as soon as I learn how to play!" Then, having spent his available energy reserves, he flopped facedown on his bed to enjoy a restorative coma until it was time to go back and kick the ball around some more.
The other big laugh came on the last day, when apparently--according to Derek's colorful commentary afterwards--his squad faced a team full of "19-year olds...with full beards!" (Because that's Derek's standard description of kids who are older and more physically mature than he is, these days...) Furthermore, Coach C. put Derek in to guard one of the larger, faster players. Derek reported that although the guy got past him repeatedly, he always caught up, and managed to prevent him from scoring. This evidently caused Derek's teammates to begin referring to him as...D-Money....which they would gleefully yell from the sidelines whenever he won an encounter with the opposition. (No, we will NOT be adopting that particular nickname at home, thank you very much....)
So there you have it. Derek survived his grueling pre-season soccer tuneup and is ready to face the actual tryouts...which began this morning at 7:30 a.m...and continue this evening at 6:30 p.m. (Does that make you tired just thinking about it? Yeah, me, too...) After the early shift, Derek told us that the upperclassmen have kept his new moniker...so here's hoping that D-Money is playing well, and is chosen for the team! (Fingers crossed, please, everybody! And stay tuned...)