“The first thing you can’t do is lose,” I explained.
“Why not papa?” He questioned confused.
Since Junior would be playing his first match tomorrow, I knew it was only reasonable to give him some advice. From one professional football player to another.
“Por favor, Isco, shut up.” Y/N warned sending a glare from across the dinner table. “It’s okay if you lose, baby.”
“What kind of help is that…” I mumbled.
“Have something to say?” She laughed, punching my arm softly.
“I just feel like telling him that losing is okay isn’t implementing any morals, amor.” I explained, using big words to get my point across. “You know what, Junior? Don’t listen to your mama. We all know whose the professional here.”
“Bite me.” She joked, turning the opposite direction.
“And try not to pass the goalkeeper the ball. Other players can steal and easily make goals.” I continued.
Junior played a centre-back position (he was very much inspired by Gerard Piqué) something very different from my own. Since I knew nothing on how to be a centre-back, after much begging, I got Sergio to help Junior out just last week.
Some people may have thought I was going to extremes for my child’s little league, but I would argue these words. Once I had the idea of signing him up, there was no stopping me. I’d practice with him everyday once I came back from work until dinner was ready.
Junior deserved to become the best of the best; the leader of the pack, and I was determined to help him achieve this.
“Remember what we talked about, babe.” My wife reminded, turning to Isco Junior who sat silent in the back seat.
“Of course mama.” He laughed, looking out the window.
“You nervous?” I questioned looking at Junior on my rear view mirror.
“Poco,” he replied bouncing in his seat.
“Football rule number twenty-seven, never be nervous!” I added, continuing my list of do’s and dont’s from the night before.
“Chill out, babe.” Y/N laughed, rubbing my shoulder. “He’s just seven years old, let the kid be nervous.”
“Who’s starting today?” I asked, ignoring her previous statement.
Ever since the start of summer, Y/N insisted that she needed a new hobby. She stressed that staying home everyday wasn’t apart of the life she envisioned herself living, so becoming a little league coach for our child’s football team was just up her ally.
“Usual starters, except Junior,” she answered nonchalantly, scrolling through her cellphone.
If she was looking at my face, she would’ve probably bursted out in laughter. I was surprised. Junior usually always started every game.
“What?” I exclaimed, turning the music down so I could give full concentration to my wife.
“The usual kids are starting except Isco. Martín is taking his place.” She explained a little more slowly and coolly.
“And why is he not starting?” I questioned surprised by the whole situation at hand.
“Because he didn’t give full effort this whole week in practice. I’m not going to just be biased because he’s my son.” She answered.
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard all day.” I laughed bitterly.
“And why is that?” She sniggered turning my way.
“He always starts, and just because he’s not in form one week doesn’t mean he should just be benched.”
“Poor Martín hasn’t started all season, he’s playing the full thirty-minutes whether you like it or not.” Rolling my eyes, I turned the other way only to ignore my wife for the remainder of the drive to the pitch.
“Go out there and play fútbol!” I exclaimed clapping Junior’s shoulder multiple times.
Receiving several awkward glances from other parents, I quickly sat in the nearby bleachers.
“Fransisco, I don’t know what type of game you’re expecting to see from a group of elementary kids.” My wife laughed, hugging her jacket a little tighter as the summer breeze set in.
“I’m expecting Junior to be the best.” I answered honestly.
“You know you’re going to hell, right?” She sniggered.
“I’m not going alone, Y/N.” I teased, wrapping my arms around her shoulders.
A couple minutes or so later, all fifteen children on the Kosmos U-7 squad crowded around my wife awaiting her instruction.
“I know we didn’t have such a great practice this week, but we’ll make up for it right now.” She spoke. “Grab a partner and begin leg stretches, por favor.”
Following her instructions, the crowd of children disbursed only to grab a friend to begin butterfly stretches on the grass.
“Did I ever tell you that you were such a sexy coach,” I whispered into Y/N’s ears so only she could hear.
“Everyday,” she giggled. “But it wouldn’t hurt for you to say it again.”
“Well then, you, Y/N Alarcon are a sexy ass coach.”
“Muchas gracias.” She winked, tightening the baseball cap on her head before strutting away.
After warm-ups, the children sat in the middle of the grass to discuss ideas and tactics. Of course it couldn’t have been anything more than ‘pass me the ball’ or ‘don’t pass the ball to Fernando.’ Wishing I was the coach, I began to ear hustle in on their conversation.
“Remember, Mikel and Nicholas to always move forward and try to shoot on target.” A small child I hadn’t known the name of said, receiving various nods and agreements from his fellow teammates.
Of course, I taught Isco everything I knew. Which included the counter-attack option which I suggested he tell his teammates, but for all I knew, he forgot.
“Look at their goalkeeper!” Junior laughed pointing towards the short, skimpy, child in all pink.
“Anybody could get a ball past him.” Mikel belittled earning himself laughs and accolades throughout the small group.
“Hey! Now, don’t talk about your opponents like that. For all we know they could beat us.” Y/N cautioned, “don’t get cocky now.”
Though their banter was hilarious, I knew my wife had seen their jokes in a whole other light.
I always knew I was the funner parent.
“Teamwork on three!” She yelled, as arms gathered into the center before being counted down.
“Teamwork!” Everybody yelled, clapping their hands together before being ushered to their parents for good-luck talks.
“Papa!” Isco Junior yelled running towards me.
“Osito!” I exclaimed, hugging his small body. “How’s everything going?”
“Bueno, we’re allowed to go to our parents for a couple of minutes.” Junior explained.
“Need any prep-talking, osi!” His mother questioned, smirking my direction.
With a small groan, Junior found his voice. “Oh no. Not from papa.”
“Hey! What’s wrong with my prep-talks?” I exclaimed, faking a pout.
“Nothing, it’s just you’re so serious.” Isco Junior explained.
“I can be non-serious too.” I reasoned.
“Okay, let’s try that.” He giggled, bending down to tie his cleats.
“If you get subbed in, go out there and beat all their little a—” I stopped mid-sentence realizing the following word wouldn’t go too well with my wife. And when I turned to look at her face she was already killing me with her gaze. “Beat their behinds, Junior!” I corrected.
Blowing her whistle, Y/N caught the attention of her team one final time before the game begun.
The opposing team, the Tejanos, displayed high quality techniques and skills for such young players. Before half-time a shy player, Michael Angelo, needed to be carried off via ambulancia after suffering a bad tackle in the penalty box. Because the Kosmos weren’t awarded an easy penalty by the ref, multiple colorful words could be heard from my area of the bleachers.
After the first half, my wife’s team were held scoreless as the other team flaunted their two-goal lead.
“Take it easy, it’s just a game.” I laughed, rubbing my wife’s tense shoulders.
“I know, I know. It’s just that I don’t know how we could be losing this badly.” She explained, allowing for small creases to be visible on her forehead.
“Sub Junior in for Michael Angelo?” I suggested, trailing kisses along the nape of her neck.
“We’re in public.” Y/N warned. “And you do realize Michael Angelo is a midfielder, right?“
"I do realize that, but at this point you want a more defensive approach, in my opinion.” I continued to explain.
“I think I will.” She agreed, before strolling towards the ref to explain that she wanted a sub.
“See! What did I tell you!” I exclaimed, making my way towards the most important people in my life.
“Sub Junior in,” Y/N mocked in her best impersonation of my voice.
“And see what happened, we lose a humble match.” I laughed.
It was true, the Kosmos did lose their game, but by the skin on their teeth. After the final whistle blew, it was 3-2 in favor of the Tejanos. Nobody could be disappointed in the performances of either team for it was a more exhilarating match than the usual dull ones.
Yes, I was sad that my sons team lost, but I couldn’t help but be proud of Junior’s performance. After being subbed in, the game changed drastically. The match was more leveled in midfield and was more in control of defense.
“Say it!” I jeered.
“What is there for me to say?” She questioned.
“Say Isco is the best player you have.” I clarified.
Before continuing, Y/N looked around her surroundings to make sure nobody was eavesdropping.”Isco Guzmán Reyes Alarcón Junior is my best player,” Y/N announced.
“That’s more like it,” I smiled, patting my sons shoulder.
a/n: i thought I’d never finish this one! thank god it came out okay. hopefully you enjoyed it anon 😘