John F. Russell: Hitting the road for a weekend of soccer |

John F. Russell: Hitting the road for a weekend of soccer

— It's a typical Saturday morning.

6 a.m. I'm enjoying my reoccurring dream of winning the Powerball drawing. Suddenly, it's interrupted when the alarm clock on my nightstand starts pumping out the Beatles’ "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da.”

My first thought is it's Saturday, and who is the idiot who forgot to turn off the alarm. Then I realize that I'm all alone. It might be Saturday, but I still have to get out of bed because this is not a typical weekend. This is a soccer weekend.

6:15 a.m. "Move it. Time to get up!" I shout as I open the doors to my children's rooms. "Let's go." Then it's back upstairs to start making breakfast.

6:30 a.m. Breakfast is on the table, but still no sign of the kids. I realize that my first wake-up call has been ignored, so I holler one last warning and head up the stairs to get ready.

6:45 a.m. Breakfast is over. I'm dressed and running through the checklist one final time as the children finish up their routines.

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Soccer jerseys, check. Pajamas, check. Water bottles, check. Snacks, check. Cleats, check. Change of clothing, check. iPod, check. Tablet, check. Sunblock, check. By the time I reach the end of my unofficial list, I realize it might be easier to figure out what an 11-year-old girl would not need for a road trip.

"Hey, Sloan, did you pack your toiletry bag?" I ask. I get a resounding check from downstairs, and I know it's time to go.

7 a.m. The car is packed, and we are on our way to Denver.

I'm not new to this whole traveling soccer gig, but I'll be the first to admit I still have some things to learn.

Truth is that going to Denver to play two or three soccer games isn't as easy as it sounds. I learned that last fall when my daughter started making regular trips to soccer matches.

Road games mean making travel arrangements, booking hotel rooms and making sure you pack everything you possibly could need for the weekend. Parents have been doing it for years, and I admire them.

When you are 46, a trip to Denver requires clean underwear, a clean shirt, deodorant and a toothbrush.

But when you are taking your 11-year-old daughter to Denver, it's a different story. Now back to this trip.

10:30 a.m. Arrive at the soccer field on time, and begin warming up for the game.

1 p.m. Game over. Back in the car and following the directions to our hotel, which fortunately is just a few minutes from the playing field. Unfortunately, I'm driving, so time has to be added for navigational complications caused by the driver.

9 p.m. Done swimming with teammates, done with dinner and finally back in the room for some rest. But as I unpack the bags, I can't seem to find my daughter's toiletry bag.

"Hey, honey, where are your toiletries?" I ask.

I'm greeted with a puzzled look, and she asks, "Didn't you get them off the counter in my bathroom?"

Umm, check.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email

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