This week's Flashback Friday is brought to you by my husband, Josh Landefeld. Enjoy!
For as long as I can remember soccer has had an impact on my life.
Many of my early childhood memories involved a soccer ball or game. From chasing my brother around as he practiced, to playing on my first team with my Northside classmates, to watching my brother and hoping that I could one day be as good as him, to the phone call asking me to be on my first “select” team, to the hot chocolate at halftime during a cold Saturday afternoon game.
The highlights were many as well. Making my first travel team. Assisting on the game winning goal
in middle school. Scoring the deciding goal to win a state cup semi-final. Being a high school soccer
star. Being recruited and committing to Michigan State to play soccer. Playing on the same team as my
brother as a 16 year old (he is 9 years older than me).
There were just as many low lights. Not winning a game on that first “select” team. Losing to our cross
town rivals to end my high school career. Injuries. Not making the NCAA tournament in college.
But as time went on, soccer became less about the victories or losses, goals or assists, but more about
the relationships that they created. The hotel stays with teammates and the fun in the pool after hours. The opportunity to be seen not as Doug’s little brother but a peer to my boyhood heroes. My 314 Oakhill roommates who have become by life-long friends and brothers.
The 2010 World Cup created an amazing bond during the most trying times of my life.
On May 27, 2010, my daughter was born and came into this world. On that day, my nephew, Kellan, had a game that I had planned to attend after work. However, I spent the day at the hospital with my
wife who had developed an acute case of pancreatitis during her third tri-mester and instead of cheering for Kellan, I spent the majority of the day unsure what the evening would bring.
As the day progressed and Christy worsened, I feared for the worst. Just before 11:30pm, I was informed that I had a baby girl and that neither her nor my wife were doing well. Around 11:45pm, I saw my daughter for the first time and upon hearing my voice, she finally showed some signs of response that had been lacking since the birth.
Over the next few days and into weeks, our family learned that our daughter, Emeline (named much later than planned), was getting stronger and would be fine. But Christy would not recover as quickly or completely. During that time, I was thrown into fatherhood and briefly into a role as an in-home nurse.
Those first two weeks of Emy’s life and Christy’s illnesses, left me dazed, confused and tired.
On June 11th the World Cup started in South Africa, which is 6 hours ahead of us. Many of my soccer friends were complaining about the early start times for the World Cup games. However, I was not one of those complainers as Emy’s schedule had me up. And during those first months, I made sure to do everything in my power to keep her on that schedule.
Over the next 31 days her schedule of feedings and sleep began to include early morning soccer time with her dad. I would like to tell you that during those games, I explained to her the rules of the game
and the nuances of formations as we both sat at the edge of the seat. But the reality is that I spent the
majority of those games staring at her as she lay on my chest. I assume that she felt my heart pound
during great goals or near misses. I imagine that she heard the excitement in my voice as I cheered or
complained during one of the greatest sporting events in the world. I hope that she developed a love of
a game that I have spent my whole life playing. I know that is a lot to believe took place in the mind and body of a newborn baby. But one can hope.
Time may tell what kind of effect all of those games have on her love of soccer. But I know for a fact
that those moments in the early hours of June 11th – July 11th have had a lasting effect on me.
Some say that they kept me sane.
Some say that they gave me peace.
Some say they were a distraction.
But soccer has always been more than a game to me. Soccer has given me a livelihood and many of the
best relationships in my life. Those moments in the early summer of 2010 strengthened my bond with
daughter and provided the greatest memories of my soccer life.
A HUGE thank you to my husband for sharing his memories with me and with all of you. If you enjoyed hearing Josh's perspective on Flashback Friday let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.