|Keeper Scott Garfing of Rochester has a kiss for grandma after the NYU match.|
|The family gathering after the Emory-Brandeis men's soccer match.|
She's attended hundreds of Josh's games and she sat through some pretty awful weather. Before the match Josh told me that she would be under cover if it was bad, and he was totally OK with that. (As it turned out, the rain that soaked the earlier women's game stopped for the men's match, and Sharon, with her heavy coat and and scarf and earmuffs, did see the game from the stands).
Josh has played soccer since he was 4, she told me. He's a totally focused kid (as are most UAA high achievers and chose Rochester because, among other more substantial reasons, he likes the cold. Go figure.
|Wash U women chow down after match at CMU.|
During UAA matches, the parents reveal how well they know the game. The more uninhibited ones yell at the refs. "You've got to make that call ref!" "It's a handball!" "That's a terrible call." "Let 'em play!"
Other, more distant relatives aren't quite as knowledgeable. Perhaps they only come along for one game a year, like the man at the Brandeis match Sunday who yelled out "I got it, I got it" when a very high pass was made near the stands. He was promptly chided: "You don't do that at soccer matches."
Or the grandmotherly looking woman at an NYU game earlier this season was complaining via cellphone to someone that the field was "in the middle of a cow pasture. And they charge you eight bucks every time you have to cross the bridge."
I don't think the folks at the College of Staten Island, where the game was played, would agree with her.
|NYU women stretch toward mom's post-game buffet. Note dog.|
Sometimes a dad will attend one road match and a mom will attend another to keep the cost down but keep the support up.
One week later, Matt's dad came to Cleveland to watch NYU play Case Western Reserve.
These final games are especially precious to those UAA athletes. Earlier this year, the parents of Jack Anderson, the Carnegie Mellon basketball player, made plans to attend each of his final games -- home and away. They drove all the way to Washington D.C. in terrible weather for the game against Catholic University. They made it to D.C., but the game was canceled. Jack was the leading scorer for CMU in the makeup with 18 points.
|After the hugs, kisses and pasta, it's study hall at a picnic table.|
Neither Matt nor any of his teammates or other UAA athletes will "go pro." That's not why they practice 20 hours a week or study in airports waiting to fly to St. Louis or Atlanta. None of them are pro material. But they are dedicated, high achievers, focused on training, team and winning. They know, however, that the classroom is where their future lies.
That's why they chose Brandeis or Case Western Reserve or Carnegie Mellon or Chicago or Emory or NYU or Rochester or Washington.