( 3rd choice for my theme song) please vote
ok….so i sit here…..24 hours later, and im having a real conundrum. im trying to figure out what my strong point of this anecdote is. is it about me, and showing alot of you a side of me you dont know. (im sure alot of people that know me, are already shocked that I was the President of the Pal soccer Club!!LOL). Is it how I wound up handling this now politically infused, brewing riot I had on my hands. Is it about what we do to our children at such a young age? Or is it just a fucking story for you to read on my blog?!! None of the above or all of the above? I swear to you, Last night I knew, and a day later , I just dont know……..Im going to just tell you the rest of the story….and maybe …you guys can tell me what the point was, if there even was one.
So theres protocol to these Board meetings, the minutes are read from the previous months business. I believe my wife, Gloria held that position on the Board, oh yeah…she got elected to the board in a landslide….I think there was definitely some lobbying. After the minutes, we go around the room to “old business” thats basically follow ups and resolutions to things we talked about the previous month. What color the lines on the field were going to be. Were we going to buy the kids real soccer uniforms like the other towns had….or let them keep looking like the Bad News bears in their cotton t shirts and shorts( My partner in crime Russ and I ….did in fact finally get bethpage into the new century by getting them real soccer uniforms) and eventually even professional outside soccer trainers besides our own volunteer coaches. A mission to make Bethpage slightly competitive in the Big Bad Soccer World of Long Island!!
Anyway…I digress, and then……cue the dramatic music………theres “new business” It started out in a civil way, i dont remember who introduced the problem, it might have been me, it might have been Russ or tom or Lou….I just dont remember, but it was just presented as fact…..left there now….for discussion and debate and voting and who knows what. The room had a dull roar to it…..the parents in the background…….If i was a betting man, which i guess I am….I would have said that at the time i could have counted on 75% of the board to be on my side. What was my side…..well first we let the Kawasakis tell us in their own words what they felt the problem was. the room was silent but for a few sidebars going on between board members….not a good sign, I thought. Then Frank Munnely spoke….he was Atushis coach, he had a lot at stake. i cannot tell you exactly what Frank said right now but I will tell you this. Frank is a decent man. A little older than some of us , one of the veterans. I know he said he understood why atushi might be feeling uncomfortable and naturally he said in the kindest of ways why he felt Atushi should remain on his team.
It was time for me to speak….a few other people might have made some comments and remarks before I did, but Basically this is what I said. I said ‘ this would normally be a time where perhaps the Board should vote on this subject and come back next month with our decision. But we are already into the season, and i dont think we should wait a month and Im also sensing by the tone in the room with some people , including some of my own board members that this vote may not wind up being in the best interest of the child. OH MAN….WAS I GETTING CLOSE TO THE “ELEPHANT” IN THE ROOM?!!!!
I said i am going to use a rule that i found in the by -laws, which states that the President in certain situations can make a ruling without the Boards consent. I intend to do that tonight, I hope that the majority of you will support me. I believe Atushi should be able to play soccer with boys his own age, and that he should immediately be placed from Franks under 11 team and put on the boys under 10 team (oh and BTW, did I mention this was the team i coached and my son played for??!!). Well all hell broke loose, more hell than i actually anticipated……guest coaches were yelling, some board members were yelling…..The things you would imagine….”im being a dictator”, i just want atushi on my team(and im not gonna lie to you and tell you that i didnt, I would be a complete idiot to NOT want Atushi on my team….but that honestly not the point) I would say my guess was right…I had about 80-85% support from the board that this was the right thing….some of them said so because they sincerely believed it. I know for a fact that many of them said so, even tho they completely disagreed with me , but wanted to support me and show solidarity, but oh that 10- 15%……one or two guys in particular….and I wont mention their names here altho Im sure they will never read this, but its a small world and a couple of people involved in this are my friends on facebook, tho not so close anymore. But the point is One guy in particular….A big Guy, A tough scary Italian Guy, who i always knew to be a fair decent guy, went completely ballistic on me, in my face, saying things I will never repeat here, insulting me, my family, my son, my integrity and basically suggesting to everyone that there be an immediate vote on whether or not to assassinate me!!! (ok He might not have said assassinate, but it was definitely implied…..WELL…..I did something that not many people in my life have ever seen…….I LOST CONTROL!!! I stood up, I got in his face, i started screaming insanities at the top of my lungs at him, i went on for ten minutes until my body was literally shaking uncontrollably and I had to leave the room and go outside because I couldnt breathe!! I was soon joined by russ…..and my wife and a couple of other friends……it took a while but they got me calmed down. I went back inside(the board member who cursed me, had left) …….I took my seat…..and as calmly and as steadily as i could , I said “I apologize for how this all went down, I think we all know this was an emotional issue…..I am going to ask to formally adjourn this meeting right now, but before I do, I want to put a fine point on my what happened here tonight, I have made a ruling that Atushi Kawasaki, will now be playing for the team coached by myself and Mitch Friedberg (sorry to use your name if youre reading this Mitch). This is not whats best for me , This is what Atushi wants, and we are supposed to be about the kids. We are talking about a 9 year old boy, and yes , i understand a talented 9 year old boy, but that should have nothing to do with it. We arent even at a competitive age yet where we are traveling to other towns, we are still playing intramurals. My decision stands. if you want to vote to impeach me, I believe thats your right. I call for this meeting to be adjourned. My wife seconded the motion
Epilogue: (if this really matters, which of course , it doesnt) We were 2 games into the season when we got Atushi. We had 9 games left. we won all but 1 game. Atushi score more goals for us than the rest of the players on the team combined. at times he just seemed to be able to score at will. He could start at one end of the field and dribble the ball the entire length of the field around 11 opposing players including the goalkeeper and score. He would regularly score 3 goals a game, sometimes 4….and at that point we usually took him out of the game, because……well, its kinda called “the mercy rule”.
Atushi Kawasaki and his parents moved back to Japan by the start of the following season. Frank Munnely continued to have one of the finer teams in his age group and we remained friends for years after this incident . he is still as far as I know, a kind, decent man.