Guest Blogger: Dean K. Miller
Several years ago I attended a soccer coaching and licensing clinic. The three-day event was geared toward introductory level coaches. The clinic included four hours of class room instruction and ten hours of on-field work. Even though I’d played the game for nearly three decades, I found coaching to be a new ball game. The information and instruction were tremendously valuable.
The final day was testing day. A short, written test was followed by an activity centered on a coaching scenario one might encounter. This was “our” big moment in front of the entire class and instructors. To demonstrate our grasp of the many topics we’d been taught, we were required to run a brief session instructing players (the extra coaches) in actual drills
My randomly selected scenario to demonstrate a “coach” was the following: I showed up at practice and discovered that all my equipment; cones, flags, scrimmage vests, etc., had been stolen. The players arrived, each with their own ball. The only tools I had for coaching were the lines on the field. My task was to provide a meaningful training session without extra equipment. I managed to pass the scenario and the course, enjoying several years of coaching afterwards.
I’ve always remembered that coaching scenario. One of the things I love about soccer is the minimal requirement to play. For me, much of the beauty of the game is in its simplicity. You need a ball and a place to play. That’s it. If there are lines on the field, that’s always a bonus, but certainly not required. You show up and you play.
I’ve found the writing process to contain an analogous trait of simplicity. You show up and you write. Having a fancy computer, access to a creatively inspired writing cove, office or coffee shop, and tutelage from established writers and friends are great things to have, but they are not necessary. A piece of paper and a writing stick is all that is needed. Should the paper have lines, that’s a bonus, too. But again, it’s not a requirement.
At times I find I don’t even need paper and a pencil. On my frequent fly fishing sojourns to the Big Thompson Canyon, I find myself creating prose, suggestions coming from the surrounding beauty of nature that meanders through my soul.
Though I continue to utilize the extra equipment available to further my writing journey, I often recall the simplicity of the soccer drill and apply the same process to my writing. Sometimes I don’t even use lines and let my words plot their own course.