Coach Charles is still in the South visiting family, but I stopped by the Tigers practice anyway, took some pictures, and visited briefly with Coach William. It was a beautiful mild summer evening in Tacoma. There were kids at various stations all over the field. And the cheerleaders were practicing, too. Yes, the Tigers have cheerleaders.
Will was outfitting kids in shoulder pads, pants and jerseys. The team did car washes for something like 10 Saturdays to raise more than $6000 to cover the cost. Will said he has been coaching for decades. He said that back in Atlanta he had benefitted from playing football as a kid due to the sacrifices of others who organized it, so now he provides that service. He said that sometimes he says he's gonna take a break from football, but he never does, "because there is always a team that needs a coach."
Will and his wife Karen, who is just as involved in the week-to-week team activities as Will is, are never home. Not only does Will, along with Charles, coach the Tigers, but they are the general managers for the Tacoma Invaders, too. Karen runs the concession stand at the Invader's games.
Will, Karen, Charles, and the other coaches and volunteers who give of their time with the Tigers and the Invaders contribute to cohension in the community. They are buildling community through sport as Baha'is are buildling community through devotional meetings, study circles, children's classes, junior youth groups, and home-visiting. We're all in this together.
Coach Charles is being driven up to Kentucky today, following his visit to family in his hometown of Lakeland FL He's probably tired of the heat by now, and probably hasn't gotten much sleep, but a visit back home has been overdue and is well worth it. He'll be back on the 31st.
The Invaders played the Eagles and won. They went down to Tenino and lost to the Caviliers by only one point. The playoffs begin this weekend. Charles will make it back before the championship game. And, oh yeah, the Tigers start their games the third week in August. The football season is long for these folks.
After visiting the Tiger's practice, I swung by Snake Lake, taking the short hike to the bridge over placid waters at the center of the park, a favorite spot. A Children's Nature Exploration Area is being developed at the entrance of the park and will open in September. Another indication of the importance the learning experiences of children is given here in Tacoma. -gw