Today the soccer season officially ended for the Kokomo KASH Eagles, unofficially the “Yellow Zebras.” Can’t remember when we morphed from eagles into yellow zebras. But some of us ordered custom made t-shirts with our names on the back and the proud announcement “Yellow Zebras” on the front. My name is Coach, by the way.
It was not the most successful season; we ended today with a win and a loss. Our team is young – the majority of the kids are 8th and 9th graders, so you could look at it as a rebuilding year, I guess. I figured my coaching days would end when my son graduated high school 2007, but I can’t quite let it go. I enjoy getting to know the young men, and it’s nice to be in shape for a few months out of the year. Playing or scrimmaging soccer will either kill you or get you in shape. Even at my advanced station in life, I can’t be “getting soft” as my dad would have said.
We had 25 kids to start the year! That number would have been fairly unmanageable – but we lost one or two to injury, and a couple more to change of educational plans in the area. As it was, 21 players is too many for everyone to get all the minutes they would like, if you’re playing competitively, which we were; but the parents and team know going into the season that we play to win. I present it positively as a chance for all the young men to get in shape, learn about soccer, and have fun at practices.
Coaches Kevin Meck and Mike Fike picked up the slack many times this year. I missed at least 8 practices, most of them when I was in Ukraine visiting my daughter, who helps run Last Bell Ministries in Zhytomyr, and the older orphan kids there who have been a part of our lives for many years. John Sanders and his son Caleb, an alumnus, were involved as well at times throughout the season.
We lose 5 guys to graduation: Matthew Meck, Ben “Tyrone” Sanders, Dillon Cook, Zach Droll, and Bo Stephan. We’ll only have one senior and a couple juniors next year from this year’s team. Since I’m rarely in contact with any of the players between seasons, it’s always fun to see which kids add 3 or 4 inches and look more like young men than little kids when we reconvene. See you next year, guys…