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April 13, 2011

Just over one year ago this week began the most disappointing experience in my life. I’ve made vague reference to it in past postings and have been detailing it in a private log for sharing at some point in the future. However, what got me really thinking about this topic was more recent events that highlight how we can either chose to be disappointed and stay in a poor attitude or recognize that disappointment is just part of constant change in our lives and use its lessons for future growth.

As you know, I recently stepped down from my role as President with the Plymouth Soccer Club to take on a full-time Business Analyst role out-of-state. Commuting back and forth has it pros and cons, but we have income to battle that nasty debt monster! With these changes, the club was also waiting to hear if one of our coaches would be returning after his winter indoor league play in the Major Indoor Soccer League. Two guys on the MISL Scoring Leader list are coaches for PSC, both are good friends, but one is actually my older son’s coach. So, whether he was coming back or not was important to know. When he informed us that he wouldn’t be returning — he got a year-round contract in the other city and was given a home to live in rent-free — the club’s Director of Coaching and President had to scramble a bit to determine who the best replacement coach would be. Although I am the team’s former coach, and I will be around for the majority of their games, I have to remain in an advisory role so that the new coach can do his thing and the players can learn from him. Certainly, it’s a disappointment for me to not be able to maintain a high level of involvement with the boys, but it’s best that I fade off as just a parent for these last couple of years before they all go off to college.

The real disappointment has been for my oldest son as a member of this team. After all the drama that took place last year with the club, then being able to keep the team together even after losing so many teammates to other clubs, then not playing for his high school because of who the JV coach was (that’s part of last year’s club drama I’m writing about separately), he now deals with having his coach who he really liked not returning. This is after being promised he would return and that the team was going to have a strong year of rebuilding. He is so conflicted with the idea that someone would commit to something and change their mind at the last-minute resulting in so many 15-16 year old boys having to adjust to someone they didn’t try out for. Much like how a college coach recruits players then decides to leave at the end of the year leaving those new recruits uncertain of their playing  and development future. While most younger players are more flexible and can handle such a change, these older, generally more mature, boys can feel the pain of such a change. I feel for them.

As I said, I’m disappointed too, but I fully understand this coach’s position and the opportunity it presents. Similarly, I had to make a difficult decision to move forward with my new full-time position out-of-state which resulted in stepping away from something so near and dear to my heart. Just because you step away for the moment (under good terms), doesn’t always mean you are stepping away for good. Nor does it mean that those effected should feel betrayed. We have to recognize the opportunities presented to the other person and the value it provides for their goals and objectives. While I know my son is generally mature in most situations, I can only hope that he gains more maturity in this situation and moves on to making the rest of the season a positive experience for he and his teammates.

Winning and Losing

I spent the past weekend with my whole family — all 6 of us plus Tiffany’s father — in Indianapolis, IN for a soccer tournament that Jason’s team was playing in. When I was coaching, I’d have 2-3 teams playing and I would be running from game to game. This time, it was all Jason and the 4 games he played. Thankfully, they made it to the Final game after a hard-fought 3-2 win against the team they would eventually play in the final. Unfortunately, they lost the final 3-2. With the time that game would end, I knew it would be cutting close to get me to the airport for my flight back to Syracuse. I let the coach have his talk with the team at the end, but was feeling overly anxious considering the amount of time we had. Even though the team would be receiving Finalists trophies, I had to pull Jason away from the team and run off.

Never in 8 years that we have been attending tournaments have I ever had to run in such a hurry, and never have I deprived my kids the opportunity to experience the bonding that goes with such a win or loss. Until now!

Many hours later, sitting on the plane, it hit me that Jason didn’t get to experience being with his team for that trophy presentation. Even though he has experienced many winning and losing trophy presentations, I just feel that it’s important that all players get to experience those moments so that they know how to deal with both success and failure later in life. I won’t debate the pros and cons of that, but having this personal epiphany cements my belief of its importance in the maturation process for all of my boys.


We’ve all been disappointed with the jobs that didn’t work out, or ended up working for bosses that we couldn’t stand, or maybe we’ve been that boss or employee who is just unbearable to work with. What about the scenarios where you know when you interview that something is just “off” about the person you interviewed with, or that the company just seems “too quiet”? Maybe it’s just something in your gut that says “I’m not too sure about it,” but there’s some overarching factor that causes you to take the job anyway. I’ll bet in all cases, that’s money!

I find myself in that position now after being with my new employer for 9 weeks. As noted elsewhere, it’s a full-time position in East Syracuse, NY that would result in my family being relocated. We’d have to sell our home, find somewhere to live in NY, ensure it’s in the right school district for the boys, be in an area that is right for the family and, ultimately, move away from all the family we have in Michigan.

The initial disappointment of having to move was quite stressful for all of us for about a week. Although we seemed to be dealing with it in the most positive ways, we came to some conclusions about 6 weeks in to the venture.

  1. Probably the single factor that led me to everything else was a statement made in a meeting on March 17, 2011 that SAP is “highly unlikely to be implemented any time soon” at this new company. Other conversations confirm that it “might be on the 5 year horizon” and that since “everything works now, why bother spending that kind of money.” The high probability, and general promise, of an SAP implementation was a major factor for taking the job — ok, the income and relocation costs certainly helped! — but now there’s almost no reason for my existence at the company. Even the so-called “Business Analyst” role has nothing to do with my IT experience and preference.
  2. To sell our home in Michigan would result in us losing about $60-70k in the original equity. Granted, the market has nose-dived in MI, and the value is far below that initial purchase, but that’s a tough pill to swallow. On the flip side, the preparation, reorganization and few minor repairs we hustled on were great for really getting the house back in order.
  3. Trying to find a place in NY had become a difficult task for two factors. 1) Finding a home or temporary apartment that we would ‘fit’ in, in one of the towns we had narrowed down to wasn’t panning out, and 2) our credit rating after this 3 year struggle has taken such a beating that we don’t qualify for anything.
  4. Tiffany and I came to the realization that we REALLY just don’t want to move! She is too close to all her friends, her mother and father are close by and very important in everything we do as a family, and my heart is just not in to making the change. When we told the boys, they were beyond ecstatic of being able to stay in Michigan.
  5. Finally, I have been contacted for so many contract opportunities all over the country, as well as a prospective GuiXT project in San Diego — crossing my fingers! — that I’m certain something will click soon.

On one hand, I’m excited about the opportunities of all the contract jobs out there after almost 3 years of nearly nothing. On the other hand, it’s a fine balance to ensure we have income and can maintain our already super tight budget until something else more in line with my SAP and GuiXT skills. In this case, unfortunately, the resulting disappointment will be with the company when I tell them I must depart for greener pastures. For my own peace of mind, the sooner the better.

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