As I have continued to say, we do have a fair amount of downtime being a professional athlete. How many people can say they have five-hour work days? Obviously during the season we have little say as to how many days we work or on what days we work but that is little sacrifice compared to the majority of people. I've been through the 10-hour workdays and the constant work at home and I must say that I will dearly miss playing soccer for a living. All this downtime has made me think what would I really like to do with that time if I could actually control the days and time off.
Growing up I was always a little bit of a homebody. I grew up in Vancouver in a family where both my parents were teachers and we would always spend the summer holidays together. My father's brother still lived in his boyhood hometown of Weyburn, Saskatchewan and my mother still had family ties in Ontario. As a family we would drive across Canada (I have one other sister who is two and a half years younger than I am) in the VW camper with a stop in Weyburn with the goal to end up in the Muskoka Lake region of Ontario. I say "goal" because we had many a problem with that old VW but we usually made it there. I'm not sure how long it would take but I'm sure it seemed a lot longer to my parents than to us in the back seat.
We would stop in Weyburn for a few days to visit family and spend time at the town pool in preparation for our swimming extravaganza in Muskoka at the family cottage overlooking Lake Roseau. It was a beautiful spot with everything a youngster could ask for. There were trails behind the cottage, old abandoned buildings and a huge lake right at our doorstop. I always loved going there. I would spend hours upon hours swimming and diving off the dock, chasing frogs and exploring the island. It was a dream and something I've always wanted to attain later in life.
When it comes to my job I think the only thing I miss is being able to do is to spend some time at a cottage overlooking a crystal clear lake with the loons in the distance telling me to relax during the summer months. Now that I have a family of my own, I want to share the same experience with them. So if I could control my days and time off I would take July and August and sit by the lake teaching my son to swim, snorkel and water-ski and watch the sun set every night. I know it is a dream but it does cross my mind from time to time during the beautiful days of summer here in San Jose.
Pat Onstad is in his second year with the Earthquakes. He won an MLS Cup in his first season in San Jose.