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Of soccer and rainbows – Steve Huffman column

I found a journal the other week that I’d started in 1992 when my sons were young.
I wrote it long hand, an attempt to record some of the day-to-day changes in the lives of my boys.
The first entry is dated Aug. 13, 1992. At the time, Zachary was 5. Will was 3.
They’re no longer little boys. Zachary is now 20 and Will is 18. They’re both in college and ó though I might be a tad prejudiced in saying so ó fine young men.
When I hear parents rant about the troubles they’ve had with their children, I’m relieved that my sons take after their mother.
But back to my journal.
Until the other week, I was afraid I’d lost it. I’ve moved a time or two over the years and I have a habit of misplacing things.
I finally stumbled upon the journal stashed in a desk drawer. Water or something had been spilled on it, smearing some of the words. The journal’s binding is coming apart.
For the most part, though, I can still read what I wrote.
I’m in the process of transcribing the journal into a computer. I don’t want it to disappear again. I figured I’d e-mail a copy to my sons and their mother, the only people in the world who I imagine have any interest in reading it all.
For the most part, the journal is pretty basic, detailing my sons’ one-time fascination with trains and whatnot.
Reading it reminds me of watching someone’s home movies ó painful unless you’re one of the parties involved.
But … I happened upon one tidbit worth repeating.
The entry comes from Sept. 30, 1993. At the time, Zachary was 6. Will was 4.
We were doing the youth soccer thing. I was coaching Will’s team. Zachary had played with us the year before, but had been promoted to another league following his 6th birthday.
In my journal, I wrote, “Zachary plays hard, but he’s not very aggressive when it comes to sports.”
I wrote that after a game, I told Zachary he needed to play a little “tougher.”
(I’m fairly embarrassed to admit that I ever told a 6-year-old he needed to be “tougher,” but the words are there so I can’t deny them.)
I wrote that Zachary nodded and replied as any 6-year-old would probably reply. “I know,” he said.
After acknowledging he probably needed to harden up a tad, Zachary sat quiet.
Then he turned to me and said, “You know, Mommy should have gone camping with us so she could have seen that rainbow.”
I don’t remember the rainbow he was referring to, but the fact that it made an impression on a 6-year-old still touches me.
“He’s cute, really,” I wrote of Zachary. “I was worried about making him tough and mean and he wants to talk about rainbows.”
I have few recollections of either of my sons’ athletic endeavors. Like I said, they’re good boys, though neither became a stellar athlete.
In the grand scheme of things, I’m not sure it makes a lot of difference.
Even for the best of athletes, sports careers are a fleeting thing, distant memories by the time we turn gray and pack on weight.
The ability to appreciate a good rainbow, though, is something that sticks with us a lifetime.
nnn
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.

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