I have been going through some of Mom’s things and came across a letter I had written home eleven years ago. I don’t have a good memory for details, so I found much of what I had to say in that letter news again. The letter covered something important and I think of interest, so I was going to reprint some of it here. Then yesterday, my brother Jim came by and brought our week’s worth of mail from the mailbox, and there was a package from Joe Angsten (’89) It contained a great present which none of you could really appreciate unless you are particularly fond of replica gold-plated opened sardine cans. With this extraordinary gift was a letter that put a stop to the presses that were printing mine. It is a letter, unlike the sardine can, that I think you will all enjoy. I do not think I have ever laughed harder at any letter. It’s about Seton sports. A sports entry is due here since the Rockies have made the playoffs after a terrible start, and since I received a phone call from Blaise Dufrain (’08) who was in Colorado Springs with the Dallas University soccer team having played a team from Milwaukee and Colorado College. I really appreciated the call. So I went from hearing of Blaise’s college exploits, to reading about Joe’s coaching debut. The two experiences combined lead me to say, “God bless Dan Vander Woude; God bless all Seton coaches; God bless Seton parents and players and spectators and may God give success to the Torres’ efforts to acquire fields for Seton. Here’s the letter.
As you know, my eldest son is now a seventh grader at Seton, and we are so happy to be back in the fold. I am now coaching the Jr. High Soccer Team, and so far we are off to a good start (a little better than the Seton football team of the 1970’s). I will admit I was a little concerned how our re-introduction to Seton would go, until I received the call from Dan about our first game.
The setting: 1st Jr. High soccer game scheduled to be a home game at Nokesville Park.
The day of the Game I receive a call from Dan.
Dan: Joe, there has been a slight change in plans. It’s up to you if you want to reschedule.
Joe: Let’s play the game – whatever it is we can handle it.
Dan: We cannot use Nokesville Park. But the County said we could use fields at Chinn Aquatic Center (in Woodbridge).
Joe: Ohh, that’s a big change…but that’s fine. Let’s play! (I say with enthusiasm.)
Dan: Great. Thanks Joe. Now you will just need to get the nets and the corner flags from the storage room.
Joe: No problem, where’s the storage room? (My concern slowly disappearing as this is starting to sound more like the Seton I knew.)
Meanwhile back at the school, unbeknownst to the new coach, the varsity team takes the nets. Joe dutifully arrives at Seton to pick up nets and flags. No nets, hhmmmmmmm…..no flags….Seton mother Mrs. Cooper introduces herself to confused new coach. (Confused but getting happier as the search goes on.) She has Dan on the phone.
Dan: Joe, sorry the nets are gone. Just get the sticks. They don’t have to have flags, just get what you can and go. I will try to have someone bring you the nets.
Joe: Don’t worry about the nets. We’ll make do. (Enthusiasm growing; concern dissipating.)
I run out to the car to open the bin of jerseys Dan gave me for the team. I gather the boys around to distribute the jerseys, and to my utter glee they don’t match! Some say “Seton” and some say “Addidas”. But the best part is #31. You guessed it: the “1” is DUCT TAPE! (Concern GONE, enthusiasm overwhelming.)
As the game gets underway my parents (you may remember them from such roles as Most School Spirited 1989) inform me that my sister Laura called and is waiting for the game to start at Nokesville Park. I knew I had forgotten to tell someone.
At halftime, I am informed by a Seton Mom that the three corner poles (yes, there are four corners to a soccer field) are needed for the volleyball team. As it turns out, those are no ordinary poles the new coach grabbed – they are volleyball antennas. So we finish the game with no poles, no nets and duct taped jerseys. The “Volleyball Mom” was so apologetic, but I told her don’t worry about it. She had no idea of the internal happiness I was feeling that those poles needed to be taken back to Seton. The new coach couldn’t be happier. Who cares that we won 3-2, this was a homecoming!
It is easy to tell from this that Joe is being re-introduced to Seton. Calling Mrs. Cooper “a Seton Mom” is like calling Mrs. Carroll “a Seton Teacher”. This letter brings back happy memories – like the day I turned over the AD duties to Mr. Hines. And the time the girls volleyball team was playing in a tournament at SVCA. Mrs. Carroll was sitting in the stands near some SVCA parents who were commenting on our team: “Couldn’t they all at least have white shorts.” “To play sharp, you have to look sharp.” We lost our first game – neither playing nor looking sharp, but came back through the losers’ bracket, still not looking that sharp but playing much better, to the championship games against SVCA. We had to beat the sharp looking team twice since it was double-elimination, and the team in various colored sweat pants and shorts beat the team with the matching uniforms. It also brings back visions of Mr. Vander Woude that first basketball season back in ’81 using masking tape to transform our illegal numbered jerseys into legal ones. (There was a lot to learn those first years.) Then there was some basketball game, I think it was junior high girls, when I looked out on the court at the five girls playing and realized that not one jersey was a match to any other.
So, #31 you wear that jersey with pride the whole year ****Addidas wearers – never forget that you are a Conquistador no matter what the jersey says****Laura, we all hope you have gotten to see your nephew play a full game****Joe, volleyball antennas are very expensive – leave them in the gym****Volleyball Mom, Did the antennas make it back from Woodbridge for the start of the game?****Seton sports fans: You can go to Virginia Independent Schools Sports and see state rankings and results of volleyball games. Last poll had Seton Soccer #8 and Volleyball #4**** To anyone who began reading hoping to hear about the locust prediction: They were right! I’ll tell you the details later.
Joe and my mom would have gotten along great. Whenever there was some problem, foul up, trouble or whatever, Mom would say, “It all just adds to the fun.” Mom and Joe are probably among the few who would have found all the difficulties of that first game so enjoyable. Thanks for the letter – hope the rest of the season was as much fun and successful as the beginning.
Jezu, ufam Tobie