I attended the TSSAS Annual Meeting held in Houston, this past weekend, August 9/10. I was not to know this at the time but it turns out it was my very last meeting as TSSAS Administrator following the interviews on Saturday. After ten years in the job, the Board, in all of its wisdom, chose to appoint a new Administrator. I have many fond and happy memories of the times spent working and talking to my friends and soccer cohorts over the twenty or so years that I have been attending. Most are gone either having retired or some have passed on to that soccer field in the sky where all soccer players eventually end up. I would like to have continued on but it is not to be.
This once a year meeting holds special memories for me personally as it was one year ago on August 8 on my way down to San Antonio that I had the misfortune to somehow get a blood clot in my right calf (Deep Leg Thrombosis) necessitating me having to quickly return to Austin and the following day, to the Emergency room. Incidentally, that drive home was an experience all by itself and took an hour longer than normal due to frequent stops, not to mention the pain involved.
This turned out to be a bit of a life changer as I had to give up coaching the little kids and with it ended my physical involvement with the beautiful game. Sadly, all things come to an end but I guess it was time. After all, I am now 77 and soccer is considered to be a young man’s game. Tell that to my many 50-60 year old friends who are still playing.
This time, I allowed extra time and stopped several times on the way to Houston to get out and stretch my legs and arrived safe and sound.
As is usual, Friday evening was the Board of Directors business meeting followed by dinner at an Italian restaurant called Ciro’s. The food was excellent and the company was very amusing. All in all, a good evening. It took all of my willpower to not indulge in one of the very fancy desserts that the rest of the table was sharing.
The following morning, after a very restless evening at the Hotel, probably due to not having the four dogs to keep me company, I was up at 6:00 am which I never do. Under normal circumstances, I am an 8:00 am person unless there are some other reasons like a doctor’s appointment to warrant an earlier rising. Luckily, the hotel also has its own Starbucks making me one very happy fellow. Armed with a non fat latte, I was ready to face the knowledgeable group of Registrars and other League officers as I lectured them on the finer points of running a league from the Registrars perspective.
The meeting went well and I was ably assisted by Neal Backes, the TSSAS Webmaster on the laptop and the overhead, showing the different slides of the documents required. Even though we started on time and that I was allowed an additional fifteen minutes, I was still hard pressed to finish on time. Guess I like to hear the sound of my own voice too much.
At 10:15 am, the training session ended and the members broke out to attend their sessions of interest, men, women and coed as each of these groups have their own commissioner and are run by their own specialty rules for things like the State Cup. For many years, Carlos Rodriguez, San Antonio Soccer Association, was the men’s commissioner but with his passing, the division was left without a commissioner. But, all was not lost as Gloria Rodriguez, Carlos wife,volunteered to step in and fill the role. It is a well know fact that behind every good man there is usually a good woman and Carlos and Gloria were no exceptions to this rule. Gloria has gone one step further and has volunteered her services to visit the Valley and talk to the leagues down there to see what TSSAS can do to help them. We have long recognized the fact that the Valley, both by location and by its very large Hispanic community, has not received the attention it deserves. Hopefully, Gloria will help to change that. Thank you Gloria for both stepping up to be the Men’s Commissioner and for taking on this additional role.
At noon time, we adjourned to the dining room for a luncheon that was held to commemorate the many years of service that Carlos Rodriguez had been involved with soccer and for his many roles with both USASA and TSSAS. Pascal gave a very nice speech to commemorate the occasion with Gloria giving the response. Again, I outdid myself and chose an apple over the scrumptious looking deserts that were offered and had to put up with a some harassment all in good fun, from Neil. I think I made him feel guilty as I noticed he was chowing down on a piece of pie.
The meeting itself went very smoothly with discussions mostly on the revised Constitution and Bye-Laws and of course the Budget took up some time. Funny how money can make the quietest person sit up and take note. We did not have any earth shattering things to decide. Pascal was re-elected as the President and he made it very clear that this was going to be his last two years in the job and he warned the members to start looking for his replacement. After the final Budget discussion, the meeting was adjourned.
Coming down, I traveled on Highway 71 from Austin until it intersected with Highway 10 and once I got past Bergstrom Airport, the speed limit changed to 75 all the way into Katy just outside of Houston. it was wonderful to legally drive so fast and the drive down, even with the three stops that I made, was very quick.
I was planning on stopping and taking rest breaks on the way back to Austin just to be on the safe side and so I decided to take an alternate way back home as I hadn’t driven Highway 290 for a very long time and wanted to see what might have changed. The speed limit was posted as 70 for most of the way and as everyone, including me, were driving a bit more than that, it didn’t take long to reach Austin. I have to say that compared to the other route that I took on Friday, things have not changed very much along Highway 290.
I arrived home around 6:00 pm to be welcomed by 4 very happy puppies. It’s so great to have that sort of welcome committee. Almost makes it worthwhile to be away although I was not “out of touch” with them as I have a surveillance system set up that allows me to watch them on live video on my iPhone. It’s pretty cool and it is very re-assuring to me to see they are OK as they go about their daily business, which incidentally, comprises of the occasional bark at something outside and then back to “napping”. Must be a great life to be so worry free as to sleep anytime you feel like it.
And they call it a “dog’s life”. We should be so lucky…
Goodbye to my friends as I fade away.