Monthly Archives: January 2011

the Princess and the Me

I have three Princesses in my nuclear family with the girl of my dreams at my side and two daughters that I’m determined will realize their own.

I coach a good number of princesses in soccer. But, that is different. And, the stuff of other stories. You can always read about those adventures, here.

Haley Anne is preparing for her first big eighth grade dance tomorrow night. This one is clearly different from other less considered events. She has an indoor soccer match that morning with a team that will likely vie for the state championship in the Spring. After the match she has to rush home (and, we’ll be pressed for time) so she can shower and then spend ninety minutes being surrounded by a hand-picked team, alongside her BFF’s (I know they don’t say that any longer) being pampered with the application of makeup, getting their hair coifed (seriously), and having their collective nails manicured.

There are moments when I think that attention to detail might be over the top. You might use the term: “spoiled”. But, it’s also something I can do that allows her to get really excited about things that are actually harmless, but really fun. I understand the planning is half the joy. And, just being thrilled by something is very important in life. My own Mom was a debutante out of old Sacramento. She would have absolutely understood the tradition of the preparation. The prospect of getting roughed-up that morning in a soccer match before the preparations begins has Haley Anne turning her nose up at me. But, she’ll pull it all together. And, I know she’s doing that for me.

It wasn’t so long ago that I was blogging about taking Haley Anne out to buy a pretty dress so we could go to a Father Daughter dance. Or, maybe just have a special evening where I tried to make things magical under simple circumstances like a dinner at a posh restaurant where she could experience what being treated like a lady means.

She’s growing up. And, we both need to be ready. She’ll be leaving me behind all to soon. So, maybe me allowing her to get gussied-up is just a way for me to stay involved.

And, as you know Emma Jo and I have the My Princess Daddy and Daughter Dance that evening as well.

Wednesday night she was playing music on her Mom’s Macbook. I asked her to dance. But, instead she grabbed a soccer ball and insisted on practicing her stops and kicks. She was blissfully unaware that I was holding back some tears and remembering her big sissy was about the same age when she started being a Shocker and thought it was fine when I sang along to the radio while we were in the car.

So, come Saturday I’ll be in two worlds. One foot pivoting my Emma Jo through a Waltz at the Buckhead Intercontinental making damn sure she feels like the very center of the universe. She has a lovely white and black ensemble ready to go. Her silver tipped shoes will match a specially picked handercheif that will be stuffed gallantly in the breast pocket of my coat. The other foot will be tapping to the beat of my heart as Haley Anne, my “formidable defender” takes her own first steps towards a coming of age, but just outside of my protective reach.

I look at them, and I can’t believe what absolutely wonderous creatures Haley Anne and Emma Jo are (and, their own Mother, Joanne). They are so pretty. And, smart. And, perfect. And, silly. And, always four years old in my eyes, stomping in water puddles.

So… Saturday is going to be all about being a Princess at the Cork household.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

 

coaching and daddying

Haley Anne wandered into my home office a short while ago. She’s been down with flu.

She has been invited to play indoor soccer for JBS. She wanted to let me know she would do it even though it might interfere with getting ready for her first big eighth grade dance.

She leaned against a wall and looked at me.

I think she is so pretty, and I’m always so proud of her.

“Wow Dad… Its just really hitting me. I’ve been a Shocker since I was nine years old. I can’t believe it’s over”.

My stomach hurts. But, my heart knows she’ll be fine and do great under a new banner.

Coach Brian

I can’t bare saying goodbye, so, I’ll bid you all, collectively, adieu.

Shockers Nation:

I’ve been quiet. And, that’s obviously unusual for me.

I’ve simply been thinking. Considering options.

In any event, I’ll offer a short overview of the Fall season for both the U16 and U14 Shockers, and move on.

U16 Shockers:

Our U16 Shockers had a successful Fall campaign by any measure with rare defeats at the hands of a standing State Champion and a State Runner-Up. Along the way we amassed a winning regular season record of: 5W-2L-3D, scoring 31 goals and with 14 goals allowed in a bracket that was hands-down, the toughest in the State of Georgia. We also played in three tournaments, including the finals at the Kennesaw Cup in the pre-season with half the squad newly added and facing a State Champion in the finals, fighting through the Kohl’s Cup with no losses (three well played draws), and narrowly missing the finals of the UFA Cup by a single goal, but two significant wins. Tournament play is the best measure, and our Shockers had a tournament record of: 4W-3L-3D. In doing so, we scored 29 goals (thats huge) with only 16 against (only 3 against us at UFA).

We all have our highlights. And, what made me most proud of this particular squad was our unique ability to reorganize ourselves yet again, overcome ridiculous outside influences, bond, and compete at the highest level of youth soccer. We never had one match where a coach did not walk up to me without the highest commendation for our spirit, teamwork, and obviously keen desire to play the beautiful game with integrity. I also had the unique opportunity to see a number of girls hone their skills AND maturity to a new level, and make the critical difference through a very long season.

U14 Shockers

Our U14 Shockers had all the odds stacked against them going into the Fall season. We barely had enough players to comprise a roster that would be acceptable to GA Soccer. Still a young team with half the players being new fought through a pre-season tournament and narrowly missed bringing home a Cup against a perennial State powerhouse in our sister team Breakers. Somehow each match of the regular season saw us pull just enough players to compete each weekend. But, we did not simply compete – we absolutely dominated. There were complaints that we were in an easy bracket. But, I assure you we simply played like the elite team the Shockers have been year-over-year since 2005. We finished the regular season with a record of: 7W-2L-0D that included 73 goals scored (new season scoring record), 8 shut-outs, with only 7 goals allowed. We further demonstrated that was no fluke by winning two of the most coveted Cups in Georgia – the prestigious Kohl’s Cup (a view of what the State Championships promise in the Spring) and of course the UFA Cup where the U14 squad matched the U16 squads dramatic Cup win from the prior Fall. Over the course of our tournament play our record was: 9W-4L-3D. Through that we scored and astounding 32 goals with only 13 against. I’ll have to add that Gracie Razo and Haley Anne Cork added to Shockers Nation honors by also guest-playing for sister team Breakers for the NASDA Cup win. That means they played in four post season tournaments (including the ill-fated RYSA Cup clearly impacted by what will always be known through Shockers nation lore as “the great divide”). I know that many tournaments are obnoxious. But, it’s also pretty cool.

JBS has issued regular season trophies and we need to get those distributed. Some of you already have yours. We are coordinating the best method to get the rest to you.  

I’ll pause, here, and point out that although this level of success is typical for Shockers Nation, it’s considered highly unusual.

in youth soccer.

Moving forward

I’ve sat here in front of my Mac trying to sort out what to say next. Too many options are ripping through my head, and this is, of course, why I’ve waited this long to send off this missive (NOTE: if Kaitlin Siech was standing next to me, she would eagerly ask, “what does missive mean coach Brian”? I would explain with some additional example, her teammates would animate for several excited moments, and then we would be back to the hearty business of being ferocious Shockers).

Unexpectedly, soccer has suddenly changed for me and Haley Anne. And, likely forever. Shockers Nation, poised for our greatest combined Spring season ever, will never be the same with the “great divide”. We’ve been ripped apart by unforeseen and certainly unexpected forces. And, I have to believe, if not simply hope, there are other positive forces at work that will leave us with an explanation and good results for another day. But, I’m humbled by the great run we’ve had together, and my own small role in it. It’s never, not once, been lost on me that Shocker parents had to put up with a lot from me over many seasons. Three clubs and a lot of tournaments later, the best I can come up with, here, is thank you, and sincerely so, for trusting me with your daughters.

…It’s no secret that I don’t like the way Chris Tovar has handled things. However, I also want to make it very clear that I do think he has the makings of a good coach. Now he needs to become a leader. Time will tell. He has my support, if that matters. My only, possibly controversial, request going forward is that the team now established at UFA not refer to themselves as “Shockers Nation”. I admit it’s personal. I coined the phrase Shockers Nation because it was apropos to our journey and unique desire to stay together against almost unsurmountable odds. That clearly changes with the move to UFA. So, that would be all I ask of you. It’s about respect, a unique style-of-play, philosophy, and history. Corollary to that I expect everyone of the players to hold dear to principles around being “pleased and being satisfied” (and, so much more). By all means, go forth and be Shockers. I know you’ll make me proud, Shockers all!

I’ve had a few recent email exchanges with Marion. That exchange really more than anything else prompted me to get this post (with an email to follow later today) off once and for all. So, the season is finally memorialized. We all have our highlights. We had a great final season, and we did it together. Players new to our system, and seasoned veterans alike. And, we’ll always have that.

I can’t bare saying goodbye, so, I’ll only bid you all, collectively, adieu.

Coach Brian – January 24, 2011 0600 Hours

a Dream Team is born

Stay tuned. More to follow.

There most certainly is!

Everything (everything) I tell you, happens for good reason. Some better than others.

Coach Brian