I’ll admit I’d been in a little bit of a funk for the past few weeks. The Thanksgiving holiday snapped me out of it. I like spending time with my kids around, doing nothing in particular but enjoying their company. The funk didn’t have anything to do with my birthday (not a milestone), or some work related issue.
It was about girl’s volleyball.
Not volleyball per se, or the fact that my youngest daughter’s team endured five lead changes in the fifth and deciding game in the state championship, only to fall to the same team that beat them last year. The same way. (can you tell I remember all of it!)
Actually, that game signaled the end of an era of sorts in my household. My two daughters are my two oldest children, and both have had spectacular high school athletic careers. Four-year varsity athletes, they have excellent and varied skills, strong leadership qualities and a tenacity that make them a coaches’ dream. Since they’re four years apart in school, for the past eight years, my fall schedule has been wrapped around girls’ high school volleyball games (with some football thrown in). Seven trips to the Final Four.
And now that’s over.
I know it’s the natural progression of things, but there is something special about dads and daughters sharing the bond of athletic competition. Maybe because it’s the thing they most often come to you for when they have a question.
High School is about growing up, about studying and socializing, about what to wear and how to act in public. All things girls ask their mom’s about. But when they wanted some help with their mechanics, or some competitive advice, Dad was the resource.
I know those things transfer to something else as they get older. I’ve seen it with my oldest daughter as our relationship has shifted, and grown. But there’s something about that stolen glance from the court up into the stands after a particularly good play that I’ll always miss. That little acknowledgement of thousands of conversations, demonstrations, admonitions and words of encouragement all flashing by in the turned up corner of a smile in front of a bouncing ponytail. If there’s anything better than that, I’ve never heard of it.