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Over 60 . . . And Getting Younger: May 17, 2013

Uncoordinated

At the age of five years old, the doctors proclaimed that my son Adam was “uncoordinated.” Adam was the surviving twin and that may have been the reason for his slower physical development. I was told that enrolling him in a soccer program would help his evolution and maturation. After all “every boy can kick a ball”.

I signed him up with the Hicksville Soccer Club and we awaited a call from his future coach. His coach, as it turned out, was a Frenchman who worked as a chef at one of the finer French restaurants in Manhattan. Since the coach held his practices on Wednesdays, my day off, I was able to go to the afternoon practices.

The coach had a very thick French accent and at times his speech was difficult for me to understand. It was even more difficult for the five year olds on his team. Oh, and another thing, when the coach became excited during the game, he lapsed into French mixed with English, which was impossible to interpret.

So, I Stanley Greenberg, with the barest of soccer knowledge became the interpreter.  My own father and all of my uncles were soccer players.  I was “dragged” as a child to many soccer matches all over the five boroughs.  When I was a child, I was never interested in soccer.  During those years, I perceived the game as being only for European émigrés and not at all a game for Americans.

As I attended Adam’s games, I developed a love for soccer.  Adam did very well and his coordination on and off the field was just perfect. As an aside in later years, Adam played for the Hicksville High School Varsity in both Soccer and Tennis.

As a translator on the sidelines at soccer practices, I brought the coach’s instructions to the young English speaking boys.  I went on to coaching my younger son Gregg as a coach in the Hicksville American Soccer Club. He flourished and later played center-forward for Jericho High School and later Amherst College.

I became a coach for a women’s league team, ages twenty-six to forty-four years old.  Coaching soccer, for about fifteen years, was a highlight in my life. Today, my children and grandchildren continue playing and watching soccer.

It all began as an interpreter for a Frenchman.