This week is an odd duck of sorts–I’m between the end of the spring semester and the beginning of the first summer term in my graduate program–and it’s a little bit like having a vacation. My stress level’s returned to normal. I can contemplate watching TV after the kids go to bed.

It’s also the week-after U8 soccer ended its spring season. We played the last game in a steady (and at times heavy) rain, beating our opponents 5-0. Julia came away with a pair of goals (!!) and Thomas contributed well offensively. I helped coach the team with Kirk Lawton, and once more I finished reminded of how much joy there is in watching groups of young people coalesce and grow together.

We are entering the age range of youth sports, however, in which the comments from the parents’ side of the field occasionally veers into queasy territory.

(Side note: it’s worth pointing out the county rec league does a commendable job in establishing strict rules around games, including that coaches/players stay on one side of the field while parents all stay on the other, no exceptions. Anyone without a jersey or a coaching ID badge are asked to stay on the parent’s sidelines. It’s both relieving and remarkable that this is how youth soccer works these days.)

Through the course of the season, I became painfully aware that our team from East Iredell was decidedly more diverse than most of our opponents’ teams. Some of the other team’s parents would occasionally take issue with the fact that some of our players were more athletic, or more aggressive, or more whatever. A few times, they’d berate the officials or make comments just loud enough to hear.

Which is a pity if not the reality of where we are. Part of me was always inspired by those ugly comments–if they go low, we’ll keep scoring–and part of me was angry. Yes, our parents might have pulled the back bench seat out of their minivan to sit on and watch the game, while the opposing team had fancier camp chairs. Sure, you could pick out our parents’ cars among the nicer SUVs and diesel trucks. Didn’t matter, though. We had great kids, and we played for fun.

I’m excited that the FIFA Women’s World Cup is this summer–I’m hopeful that Jules and Thomas will take an interest, and maybe we’ll do a bracket challenge and try to watch as many games as we can. It’s a fun game, and they’ve learned a lot more this season about how it works. Our kiddos could do far worse than be inspired by the USWNT.

Around here at campus, we’re setting out the white folding chairs for commencement. The nurses will be pinned on Wednesday, the HSE (new term for GED) grads will walk on Thursday, and our early colleges and curriculum graduates will turn their tassels Friday.

Come Monday, it’s back to school. I’m taking a single class–the history of the American community college–and it’s being taught by the president at Wilkes. By the end of June, I’ll be halfway through my masters program. That’s enough to get me excited.