Unbelievably, my daughter and her husband are fast approaching their first anniversary.
They got married last October, the 26th to be exact, and we were blessed with bright sunshine and warm – but not hot – late fall temperatures and getting the wedding in with no pandemic worries added to the mix. In their first year of Mr. and Mrs., they got through me living with them for a few months during COVID and, more recently, welcomed a puppy in to their home. My daughter has decided to wait for a while before having kids; she’s discovering that a puppy is work enough.
This October also brought the wedding of her best friend, Katelyn, who was Ally’s maid of honor last year. Ally returned the favor and was the matron of honor for Kate during the recent Saturday ceremony. These two spent many Saturdays together growing up; as Ally noted in her toast, we started riding with Kate and her family to soccer games and tournaments because I always seemed to get lost on the way to wherever we had to play.
They began playing competitive travel soccer when they were 11-years-old and we spent nearly the next decade hanging out with ‘the other Jacksons’ just about every weekend for seven to eight months of the year. Ally and Kate became best friends who loved to claim they were cousins; after all, they were both Jacksons, both played soccer, both loved animals, etc., etc.
When we had a home game, they let me drive. No worries, I could make it to T.L Davis Sports Park in Oakdale and they would occasionally give me the go ahead to drive if it was somewhere close like Ceres or Turlock. Anywhere else, though, we were usually riding with Kate and her mom Edy and often her dad Bobby, depending on work schedules.
Edy and I shared that thought before the wedding started; she asked “How did this happen? This should be a soccer Saturday!” I could only agree, and we briefly relived our extensive travels through the years.
October, we would have been playing a league schedule and getting ready for the Halloween Tournament in Fresno. Our competitive season usually started with a tournament in Dublin in July, sometimes also doing Castro Valley; August we had one or two tournaments at Cherry Island in Rio Linda; September was always our favorite because that was the Santa Cruz Tournament and that meant the beach in between and after games.
Then it was off to Fresno for Halloween, often going back for a late November tournament at Cherry Island and more than once, a college showcase locally in Modesto during December. Tournaments were the last weekend of the month, regular league games the rest of the time. Then it was on to a February tournament, followed by the Association Cup.
It’s funny how, when you are in the thick of it, every weekend is consumed with soccer (or whatever travel sport you are doing) as it often meant an early start on Saturdays depending where we had to play and sometimes two games in one day based on the league schedule. But looking back, it’s over in a heartbeat.
We had our favorite hotels; one of the best was in Roseville, close to the Galleria, which provided not only a place to eat but also to shop. The Santa Cruz stay was always at the top of the list, too, just because there was so much to enjoy once the games were done.
Miles and miles, countless games throughout the years, and I love how the girls can remember specific opponents and key moments in contests. Just ask them about Caveman or Pancake Face, it’ll bring a smile. Not to mention the offside goal by the Kickin’ Chickens that cost them the championship one year in Santa Cruz … ah, the memories.
But now it’s time for new memories, and I wish Katelyn and Clayton all the best as they embark on their married life together.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.