During our last practice, I decided it was finally time to solve a very important problem facing the soccer team I coach: two of the kids have the same name. I gathered the team together, and just laid it out for them.
“Here’s the thing,” I said. “I can’t keep shouting one name and having two people respond. It’s too confusing. What are we going to do?”
A few of the kids laughed. The rest sort of looked at each other. One shouted “We should call one Jimmy!”
Neither of the two kids are named Jimmy, or James, or anything like that, so that solution didn’t fly.
“What about last names?” I asked. One of the two kids is my youngest son, but I don’t really have a problem shouting “Hey, Matthews! Pick up the pace!” I mean, I heard that enough when I was playing. It would almost make me feel more comfortable to have someone shouting it again.
The two kids shook their heads. “Nah.”
“How about Batman?” my son asked.
“You think they’re going to call you Batman?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Sure.”
“Yeah!” another player shouted. “Batman!”
Others joined in, shouting support, and it was decided. My son is now Batman.
Pretty cool, right?
Fast-forward to the game on Saturday. I’m standing on the sidelines, shouting advice and encouragement to the players, things like “Cover back!” and “Pass!” and “You’ve got a man on your back!” It’s what I do every Saturday, part of being a coach.
This Saturday, however, I found myself shouting “Get back, Batman!” and “Great shot, Batman!”
Once, after he had tried to dribble the length of the field without passing, I even yelled “Batman! You can’t do it all by yourself!”
At which point, his older brother (who helps me coach) leaned over and said in a gravelly whisper, “Yes he can. He’s Batman.”