Last night during the second-half of her team’s tough match against a strong school, I approached one of Agatha’s coaches on the sideline – something I had not done at any level in the 8 years of watching her play.

Until that point I hadn’t so much as introduced myself to her Middle School coaches and here I was walking up to one of them. During a tight match. Sure, he knew who I was because I’d been present during the tryouts, and at every practice and game since the season started – but this was a strange time to make introductions.

“Hi.” I said to him. He nodded. “Agatha’s about to collapse from heatstroke. She needs a break.” It was nearly 90 degrees and, like always, she had been playing the whole game. During halftime her coaches decided to spend the ten minute reprieve in the blazing sun, rather than retreat to the shade like the other team. My daughter runs hot.

Her coach looked out at the field and saw her laboring with a beet-red face. At the first opportunity, he replaced her.

Agatha made her team as a 7th grader, and starts as a center midfielder. She’s technically sound, with a strong and accurate leg, and has the kind of passion that other kids feed off of. She’s an important player to her team. And she knows it.

She came trotting off the field and collapsed into a chair. The reserve players on her team tried cooling her off, dousing her with water. A few minutes later she was up, standing next to her coaches who immediately pointed back to the bench where she reluctantly retreated. A minute later she was back up.

The coach walked over to me. “She wants to go back in.” he said. “We can’t get her to sit down.”

I laughed. “I’m sure she’s fine now. She just needed a breather. Thanks for taking her out. She doesn’t know to tell you she needs a break.”

At the next switch, Agatha raced back in and played her heart out until the final whistle. Her team lost 3-0, but she played maybe her best game of the season.

Sometimes Dads know. soccer


Jim Mitchem

The Death of Twitter
The Streak

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

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