A ’70s Achievement?

Do you ever wonder why you keep certain things? Items that have no practical use and no sentimental value that you can recall. You don’t associate them with warm memories of a lost love or long-gone relatives. They don’t remind you of better days.

I was staring at a few soccer patches from a town league and wondering this to myself. I keep them in a shoebox-sized plastic container in my closet with other items, such as: medals for soccer skills and trumpet solo performances, and pins for each year on the high school soccer team — a team that required try-outs to join. But mementoes of accomplishments are different.


My tiny stack of patches

In my fifties now, these patches from East Fishkill Soccer Club and also the club’s bumper sticker make me question myself. These seem like mementos from another person’s life, so why do I keep them? Some memories are buried so deeply that it takes effort to recall. Like I’m turning page after page of a huge encyclopedia in my mind, trying to get back to A.   

I can remember that just joining the town’s league was a challenge. I was so shy as a child, solitary, more interested in reading than sports. It was painful to even look someone in the eye and I rarely spoke in class. I was about nine, I’d guess, in the 1970s when I joined the town soccer club. To do so, I had to overcome my natural instinct to protectively curl into a ball around others, like one of those animals … an armadillo or a hedgehog.


                                             Photo by Jodi Pelman from Pexels

Maybe participation is its own achievement. Especially when either in your mind or in reality, hurdles are everywhere. But soccer was worth it. More than any other sport I had tried during gym or recess at school, soccer was the only one I liked enough to challenge myself. Working as a team and socializing were not my strengths.

So even though at first glance, I just see participation patches, my mind is still holding onto the importance of that. The significance of that time in my childhood. So, each time I hold them, I put them back into the box, safe with my other achievements from decades ago.

Bumper sticker

My old bumper sticker

Are you keeping any memories of participation somewhere in your home? What do those items mean to you?

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