Posts Tagged ‘Ralph Wager’

Say It Ain’t So

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Ralph Wager photo from RL Thomas yearbook, Webster, NY 1968

After all the paintings and drawings that I’ve done from mugshots it is startling to study one of someone I once knew. My high school soccer coach was arrested a few days ago in South Carolina on sex crimes with a child in the 1980’s. I never could figure out why he left this area, he had built up such a successful soccer program.

I used to play in summer evening pickup games at the old high school and Ralph was one of the players. We did shirts and skins or sometimes brought an additional white t-shirt to discern the sides. Most of the guys were older than me and Ralph was the oldest so he was somewhat of an instructor. He was a finesse player. Light touch, European style, short pass and possession. He wore a beret and drove a Citroen and was hired by the school in my senior year as varsity soccer coach. We went to the sectionals and lost to Gates. I don’t think I ever saw him again. I talked to another teammate and he said, “I would like to believe this isn’t true but I bet it is.”

Ralph had taken some graduate courses at Indiana University and he suggested I go there. IU had a great soccer team and there was talk of a scholarship. I played one year, was the first freshman to start for IU, and then dropped out. I still love the game. We drove to my parents house this afternoon to watch the US Women’s team beat France. Abby scored on a header and on the way home we drove by her family’s place, Wambach Farms. I’m thinking now we should have honked.