It was a day like many others at The Compound. We sadly sat at the breakfast table thinking about Saturday’s loss to LAFC, looking out on the chickens as they pecked, stared, and plotted. It was while I was mid tea sip that my phone buzzed, which is strange because my phone is set to no notifications, except for one person: Josh Wolff.
I’ve met Coach Wolff on a few occasions, including before the team started playing when meet and greets were organized around town with season ticket holders. After talking to Josh a few times, we exchanged numbers, and he told me “when the time comes for you to truly know me, I will reach out to you.” I clumsily took my phone out of my pocket as the occasion was not lost upon me. The text simply read “Mount Bonnell, half past sunset, tonight.”
With sunset being at 7:53 PM, I really didn’t know what he meant, so I did what any unseasoned journalist would do: I went to the location early. The sunset was beautiful and a moderate temperature made the walk to the entrance pleasant as I took in the scenery.
I was taken out of the beautiful scenery as Coach Wolff came up to me, patting me on the shoulder “Are you ready to see something even more beautiful than this?” he asked me, looking directly into my eyes.
“I am” I replied, the gravity of the moment hitting me, wondering what kind of gift or deep spiritual meaning was awaiting me. He led me up a path, not looking back to see if I was following, nor did he speak to me, but after a few minutes he stopped, turned off the trail, through some tall grass and waved me up toward him.
There was a small tree, a treaty oak growing next to a large piece of limestone. It looked sparse, only having eleven leaves on it as the branches intermingled.
“The Front Office creatives won’t admit it, but this tree is the basis of the crest” he said, looking back at me, “but the real prize was carved into this rock.” I moved closer, seeing a list carved into the Limestone.
- You shall play no formation but mine;
- Thou shalt possess for the sake of possession;
- Triangles are the perfect shape, create them above all else;
- Thou shalt wait for the defense to set before attacking;
- Honor your father and mother;
- Thou shalt honor no practice Gods above me;
- Thou shalt pass 10 times before attempting to strike at the goal;
- Thou shalt always cut inside
- Thou shall not wear Verde
- Thou shall only take corners short
- Do not worry about WPIOOTBGW, for it is always right to play from the back
“I found this on a walk one day,” he said, breathing deeply “it was when I felt lost, I’d never coached a match yet, the team hadn’t even signed Rodney. But…I knew, I just…knew that these tenets would be the basis of my tenure here.” He was looking at the limestone and also looking 10,000 yards in the distance at the same time. He walked up to the face of the rock, placing his hands on it. He tapped it with his finger, closed his eyes, and then punched it. The crack formed at the top, moving around and down the scribed words until it formed into two tablets. He held them in his hands.
“Have you ever wondered why there are eleven here? Moses only got ten,” I asked.
Josh looked at me quizzically “Who?”