THE WEDDING INVITATION. Let me explain. It's not that I mind getting the invitation.
Almost all of them are from good friends of mine who I am happy and excited for. To me, though, it means another sweet party with friends and family with lots of laughs and smiles and drinks and eats and dancing and all things happy and fun -- and it is almost surely a party that I will not be able to attend (see footnote 1).
I have come to understand that being a professional athlete, particularly in MLS where the season runs from February until November, means missing out on the majority of these events. To my knowledge, not many people get married in December and January. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but not many of my friends have chosen to go that route. Come on folks, that is the only good time for me!
One particular story comes to mind. One of my best friends (let's call him Lenny) got married in October of 2001. Lenny called me about nine months before the wedding date to ask if I would be in his wedding party. Before I said yes, I had to check the MLS schedule, and sure enough he was getting married on MLS Cup weekend. Now, I'm not sure if any of you saw us play in 2000, but at the time he asked me (which was in early 2001), it looked like there was a pretty good chance that I would be able to go to the wedding. Well, in comes Frank Yallop and Dominic Kinnear and Jeff Agoos and Ronnie Ekelund and Landon "Wonder Boy" Donovan, and wouldn't you know it, we made it to MLS Cup. You may recall we had a deciding Game Three in Miami on the Wednesday before the final. I actually had a flight planned for Thursday morning to go to New York for the wedding. Fortunately (for the team, not for Lenny) I didn't make it to New York, and instead won my first championship ring in a great final against the Galaxy (see footnote 2).
Lenny, Birk, Zito, Supercalf, Shorty, Skee-lo, Laine and Danby, Ryan, and others, man I wish I could have been there! I know they were all great events and I still got the pictures and stories and even a few late-night phone calls from "affected" friends while at the wedding, but it is those things that make getting that invitation so frustrating. Hey, I don't mean to moan. It is my choice to play soccer for a living, and a choice I would make a million times over again and then some, but it does make for a few regretful moments while filling out "will not attend" cards. Speaking of that, I better get to it.
Will not attend,
1 Stop calling me Shirley!
2 Go on, Dwayne!