I love poetry.
You may be surprised to hear that this was not always the case.
When I was coming through the ranks as an undergraduate English major, I had some courses containing poetry, and I did not love it then. That is not to say that I disliked poetry; I simply preferred works of prose.
One of the beautiful parts of aging is that it (hopefully) provides a little wisdom , and now, as I reflect back, I can see why I did not love poetry.
Poetry, as a genre, demands focus. It demands care. It is not designed for the casual reader, for what can be casual about a genre that puts us closest to our very souls as human beings? That’s what poetry does. No other genre (at least in this human’s opinion) gives us as much access to what makes us tick as people. Thankfully, by the time I attended graduate school, I had learned to love poetry, and I still do to this day.
Last night, I had a poem going through my mind on the bus ride home.
It is a short poem, and you may have heard it before if you have read any of Robert Frost’s poetry or read The Outsiders. It follows below:
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
On the surface, this poem comes across as a bit of a downer. One can read the lines and see images of fading beauty and things ending as time passes by. In the context of our match yesterday, our season came to an end; our dawn had gone down to day. There were tears last night, and, like I told you then, I will not say: “do not weep,” for not all tears are an evil.
Yes, our season is over, and that is sad, but, in the context of the poem, for us to be sad, we had to have some beautiful moments; we had to have some golden times together.
We scored the most goals in team history.
We allowed the least goals in team history.
We provided the most assists in team history.
We achieved the largest margin of victory in team history.
We scored the most goals in a match in team history.
We had the best goal differential in team history.
We recorded the first 10-0 victory in team history.
We had the most individual goal scorers in team history.
We had the most individual assist creators in team history.
We were the most competitive team in team history.
We had the best team spirit in team history.
There is one major thing that stands out above in those accomplishments, and it is not the team history part, though that is awesome in itself.
It is “we”.
Everything accomplished this season was done by a unit; it was done by a team. No one can do it themselves, and you all worked together this season to create poetry on the field. Several opposition coaches praised your growth across the season, and folks have now taken notice of our school on a soccer level. It was a joy to be a part of it with you.
Again, yes, we are sad, but we have to realize and appreciate the level of our sadness. We are only truly sad because we were truly happy before; one cannot simply be sad without any contrasting happiness. The only way we can be this down now is that we felt something really good before, and that is a beautiful part of life.
Our season is over, and our lives go on.
I am grateful for all the work put in by our parents. Our parents are the best around, and, at the end of the day, I always feel supported. I certainly appreciate that! Thank you all for allowing me to coach your children!
To our support staff, our BreckLive commentators and HUDL operators, I want you to know that I will miss you dearly next season. So much of what you all do goes unnoticed by most, but I want you to know I see you and appreciate every minute you dedicate to BCHSFC.
To the players, I simply say: thank you. The sport does not work without you, and I hold fast to the thought that I have the best players to work with in the state. I feel privileged to stand with you and watch you, and it has brought me much joy (and perhaps a little hair loss, but I’m good with it) over the years. Thank you to all of you. I think back to little six-year-old me pulling up my socks over my clunky shin pads at a summer soccer camp. That boy had a love for a sport that the world loves, too, but he could never have imagined the chance to coach such a fine group. This chapter in our journey together ends, but you all will go on! You have so much to enjoy, and to be, and to do! I am proud of all of you, and I thank all of you for spending part of your lives with me sharing a love for the poetry-in-motion nature of the beautiful game.
Coach (Mr.) Garrett