Once upon a time, I was a soccer mom, sweating or freezing on the sidelines, gripping the arms of my collapsible chair, or pacing up and down, trying my best to bite my tongue, when I couldn't sit still.
And then TG joined the Cosmos, and Coach Christine took all of my angst onto her own shoulders. I no longer had to pace or coach from the sidelines. She paced up and down, shouted when and what I longed to shout, got angry when I was angry...
I was finally able to sit on the sidelines and enjoy the game. What a relief!
It was after TG had graduated from high school and said her goodbyes to the Cosmos that we learned of Christine's cancer, and then later, of her passing. It inspired me to write about her in "Coach Christine, Queen of the Cosmos."
But Christine's passion and joy extended beyond the soccer field. As a registrar for the Leander School District, she touched many lives, and that's why the district decided to name a new school after her this year.
And if that isn't awesome enough, that a district would name a school after a mom/registrar, the mascot for the school is the Cosmos.
TG and I attended the dedication of the elementary school yesterday afternoon. Coach David and Christine's brother, who they adopted at age 11 when their mom passed away of cancer, spoke about Christine's bravery, passion, and high standards. Her daughter and two sons sat on the stage, smiling at the recognition given to their mom. She would be proud of them.
Christine juggled two jobs, coached a couple of soccer teams, shuttled three kids to practices, managed a household, and took on the responsibility of raising her brother, all with a huge smile. She showed no favoritism. All were loved and criticized equally.
That's what I already knew - and loved - about her.
What I didn't know was she also helped some of the girls on the Cosmos with their college applications and paid their application fees when they balked about going. She grew up in Harlem, New York City, valedictorian of her high school, and won scholarships to a prep school in New England and went on to Lehigh University.
She believed in education and accepted no excuses.
So kudos to Leander School District for recognizing that Christine Camacho absolutely deserved to have this new school named after her. It was probably my imagination, but I could sense Christine there... so much energy and joy and excitement.
Coach David asked the Cosmos girls to stand up. There were six or seven of them there, out of about 20 who wore the Cosmos jerseys. Pretty impressive, considering they are all in their early 20's now, and many no longer live in the area.
At the end of the dedication , they joined the staff in the Cosmos chant...
"C! o-s-o-s M! o-s-o-s C! o-s-o-s M! o-s-o-s COSMOS!"
That chant, and the Cosmos, will live on forever... in Leander, Texas. That makes me very happy.
I hope you rest in peace, Christine, knowing that the seeds you planted are blooming and thriving.
Some people say soccer's a matter of life or death, but it isn't. It's much more important than that.
~Variation of a famous saying