Turning 18 can be a traumatic time for a young adult. These days, instead of representing endless possibilities, an 18th birthday can leave one staring into a huge, empty void. High level organized sports stop at age 18 for all but the tiny tip of the pyramid. With the end of high school comes the end of band, choir and musicals for most kids as well.
I never really noticed this until I watched Ben graduate from high school this summer. A nice banquet, some awards, a final concert or two, then it was over. I don't think he's touched his trumpet since and has only picked up his guitar a handful of times. Instead, it's on to grown up things like working and figuring out his future.
Ben's soccer career also made a big shift, although that took until October. His club team qualified for Nationals as Saskatchewan champions, so Ben spent Thanksgiving in Newfoundland squaring off against powerhouses from BC and Ontario. But then, it was over. The next level is University soccer, but Ben's not interested. So his competitive 'career' is over, although he is loving playing on a recreational adult team once a week.
So I was thrilled when Ben was asked to help coach his former high school team. He worked with the rookie goalkeepers and gave pointers to the back line. It seems like he took a turn at some of the drills too.
Thanks to a solid midfield and blazingly fast forwards, his team won the City Championship last night and Ben was all dressed up on the sidelines. I think he was as happy with this medal as the one he won as a player in Grade 9.
The head coach insisted on suits for the coaches for the final game, joking that he wanted to look like Pep Guardiola. In my mind Ben looks a little like a young Arsene Wenger. Likely just a proud father vision there.
I hope Ben keeps coaching. That's something that can last well past 18, or even 36. Who knows, maybe he can get me tickets to an Arsenal game one day.