Nick’s final fall soccer practice was Thursday night in Richmond. As usual, we enjoyed the long drive, most of which is on rural Interstate 85, starting near the North Carolina line. On our way there Thursday, Virginia’s autumn landscape and a few crossing hawks provided compelling scenery.
Since August, Nick and I have been commuting to Richmond for him to play with a Richmond Kickers travel soccer team. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we drove 85.5 miles to Bryan Park, which I now happen to know takes exactly one hour and twenty-two minutes.
I also happen to know Bryan Park is five minutes from Dumbarton Library, a branch of the Henrico County Library system, which lets non-residents have a library card for $15, and which figured prominently in our Richmond trips.
Yes, it was a little crazy. But it’s been great. Nick enjoyed the experience of making it on a new team, and he loved the intensity of practices and games. He played in two tournaments — they lost every game in the opening tournament in Williamsburg and were tournament champions in the Columbus Day tourney, which is definitely the kind of improvement coaches, parents, and kids like to experience.
Nick with a nice header in the Columbus Day Tournament.
He also has played regular season games Saturdays, Sundays, or both days, every weekend for three months–throughout Richmond and in other parts of the state, including teams from Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Virgina Beach, Williamsburg, Suffolk, and other areas.
We’re fortunate that the flexibility of my work and our homeschooling made the driving easier to handle. People asked me if the drive itself bothered us, but most days it really did not. On Thursdays we usually added an activity in the Richmond area to the “front” of our trip — usually alternating between an art class and a hangout with other homeschooled teens, if not a trip to Guitar Center to visit Guitars We Can Not Afford. I enjoyed learning a bunch of different cross-town routes through the city, and I was very grateful to have a GPS. And, of course, we visited the big city library so we could have access to more books and spread our overdue fines to multiple localities.
We were able to do a lot of on-the-road homeschooling, mainly by listening to and discussing audio books. I wish I’d kept a complete list, but among the more recent were A Wrinkle in Time, three historical fiction-ish books in the Crispin series, and A Door in the Wall. Wanting to know whether Crispin will escape his tormentors at the edge of the castle will make you ready to jump back in the car to hear the next chapter.
So tomorrow is the final fall game, and I’m mapping it out, and Nick’s doing his laundry to make sure his uniform is ready to go. I’ll be glad for the extra hours in my week as work deadlines, Thanksgiving, and Christmas approach, but I’ve already located the audio sequels to A Wrinkle in Time, and Nick’s got his work-outs planned so he’ll be ready for indoor futsol this winter – and then spring season. We’ll be on the road again before we know it.