The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

What a Utility Bag

At the end of youth soccer leagues we would have a nice trophy presentation. This was a big deal for me, as I was convinced the more trophies I had the better I was. This was an ingrained FACT.

And, sorry, ribbons don’t count as trophies. A trophy is something you can throw and do damage with. Just ask a certain cousin of mine.

Growing up I played soccer, and in middle school and for half of high school I ran cross country. Soccer was my only source of trophies. (I only got ribbons for cross-country. Stupid ribbons.) I needed these trophies, too. They proved … something!

In the fourth grade, in my mind, I was a soccer wiz. I was the tops. The cat’s pajamas. The bees knees.

But, my growth in the soccer skills department stopped there. I kept getting older, but my body relished that fourth grade talent. Improve with age? I don’t think so. I’m good where I am.

Fortunately, when you play on youth soccer leagues no one can get cut.

I tended to sit at the start of games, but I got a pretty good amount of playing time, and I occasionally did something well (intentionally or not, it’s all about how nonchalant you act after something good happens).

The worst time of the year to have no talent was at the trophy presentation. That’s when it really hit home for me.

The coach would stand up and say a few words about the team, the season, the fun, the game! Yeah, we learned a lot from these talks (“pass me another slice,” “Brad, shhh!, your coach is talking!,” “…so do I not get another slice?”)

After the introductory remarks, the coach would announce a player’s name. That player would go to stand beside the coach and beam as the coach went on about their talents.

“Ben scored the most goals!”

“Tony was non-stop, he was always making a play!”

“Nobody could stop our goalie!”

But what if said player lacked in the talent field?

“Brad, come on up here! …” (He’s holding the trophy.) “Brad’s a real great kid.” (Just give me the trophy and let me get back to my pizza.) “We could put Brad in anywhere in the game, whenever we needed him.” (Wait … is that an insult or a compliment?) “He’s a great utility player!” (CRAP! It’s an insult.)

Utility!? Utility?!?!

My coach called me a tool.

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