I had worked hard all day to get to his game, as I like to watch him play. Actually, I like to watch what he does when he sits on the bench, too; the way he engages people, his mannerisms, his smile. But, I digress.
The old wooden stadium was built for a football crowd, long before soccer became a high school sport. The grandstands run east to west and, luckily on this day the wind was out of the south so if you sat high enough the wind might miss you. The game time temperature must have been close to 40 degrees. At least that's what it read on the bank's sign just outside the campus. But with the wind's assistance it felt like a lot colder.
I sat (and sometimes stood) alone way high in the bleachers. I'm sure some thought it to be strange. There were thirty, maybe forty people in attendance, most of them parents or grandparents of the players, I'm sure. There was a small group of maybe eight or so students that must have had a friend on the team, or maybe they needed an excuse not to go home. Either way, it was nice to see.
The game was fairly uneventful--unless you were watching every little thing your son was doing. Many times I felt like cheering when my boy broke free from a defender at breakneck speed--only to have the ball go the other way--and cheering wouldn't have been appropriate. Many times I felt my heart swell with pride and I heard myself say "way to go" or "atta boy". It was at those particular moments I would look down and see my former wife and her husband all decked out in hoodies and wrapped in a warm blanket, seemingly oblivious to the game being played. It was in those moments I felt the most alone. Suddenly, the bleachers couldn't block out the cold.
Sometimes the hardest thing about this whole single parent thing is NOT being able to share what you feel as a parent with the only other person who might understand what it is that you feel.