I can remember when I was very young and growing up in Eastern Massachusetts. It was a great time in my life because I had the ability to eat, breathe, sleep, and do all things soccer. I lived in a soccer family where each and every one of us were involved in The Game in some way.
At that time I was both a player and referee, and spent nearly every daylight hour on or near a soccer field. I can remember getting up Saturday mornings in the spring and going with my dad to line fields for the day's matches.
I knew every blade of grass, every mark, every anthill on those fields. I knew when the grass was going to be cut, and who was cutting it. I even cut it a few times myself when the grounds keeper could not get out in time during the week. I made patterns in the penalty area and center circle just like I had seen on TV. "THIS is how they do it ..." I would yell to my dad over the mower as he held is hands high in a gesture as to say "What are you doing?"
On Sunday I would play a match, then generally change in the car and run lines for the rest of the day, finishing off with the toughest matches of the weekend. The dreaded Boys U-19. I learned so much.
I did this for weeks in a row, and year after year. Those fields I came to think of as "my home field." It was where I refereed my first match, played my first game, and learned how to put the perfect markings down. It was glorious.
Same is true today with the roads around my town. I have ridden 1000's of miles over them and know the flats, rises, bumps, pot holes and what power I can pull in what stretch. I have ridden them almost every day for a few years now, and know them well.
We don't always get to stay at our home field, and have to move on to other things in life. While sad in a way, it is also necessary to grow.
I remember by first time refereeing an "away game" almost 20 minutes away, or my first night match at the State Championships ... and how things seems to be more exciting "under the lights."
I remember too my first bike races away from my home roads, or training far, far away.
That time has come for Kicking Back too.
For the next few weeks, I will be away moving and setting up shop in a new location.
It has been a very busy time ... and promises to be exciting, and a little scary as where I am going is totally unfamiliar to me.
Have no fear, we will be back with a vengeance after a short break tackling the fun, silly, and surreal.
During my break, please take some time and peruse the archives as right ... in looking at the work we have done over the last few years, there are some real gems in there.
... and thanks for reading!