The Kid is a huge fan of soccer. He loves to watch the game as well as play it. So when we learned that his soccer coach was organizing a skill-building clinic this spring, we didn't hesitate to register the Kid.
For me, though, soccer would be a much more pleasant experience if it had better parking. Our town's soccer fields are notorious for being horrible places to park. The location of this clinic is not the winner of the Worse Soccer-Field Parking Lot Ever (that prize goes to the one that has a single entrance with a long road that dead-ends at the end of the 4-pitch field. You can park on one side of the road, but there's an unfenced creek on the other side.) The field we're using this spring, I'd say, is the runner-up. There is NO parking lot; you must parallel park on the street, but only one side of the street is available for parking. When there are 50 kids per clinic session, and sessions are consecutive, parking is a nightmare.
I've developed a strategy to deal with the problem: I drop the Kid off, then park somewhere else in the neighborhood until the group that's finishing up has gone. Then I go back around the block and get a decent parking space. And I parallel-park the minivan.
I can do this, because before I bought the van I took it to a one-way street in a nearby small town, where parallel parking is a way of life. I made sure I could park that van on that street. I wasn't going to buy the van if I couldn't do that.
Last weekend, I'd just snagged a good parking space and settled the van in when the car in front of my pulled away. I was about to drive up into that space--where I'd have a better view of the Kid as he played--when another car came along, apparently relying on the same strategy I do.
It was the dad of one of the players on the Kid's team. He has a nice new muscle car. All the fifth-grade boys drool over it. Truth be told, so do I.
He tried three times to park that muscle car in front of my minivan before he finally managed it. Embarrassed, he got out of the car and came over to my van to say hello--he knew I'd seen him. "I've never had to parallel-park this before," he told me. "Figures that the first time I try, I'd have to do it in front of someone I know."
Maybe I should let him know about my test-drive strategy before he buys his next new car.
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