Monday, May 26, 2008

soccer season

I'm a bit self conscious about writing this post because it is yet another one about my kids.

Last week I listened to one of my weekly podcasts that happened to featured Chuck Klosterman--a favorite author of mine. He was asking the podcaster--who happens to be Bill Simmons, a writer on how having children had changed (or not changed) his writing. Specifically, did he find himself compelled to write more about his kids or did he consciously avoid the topic? Simmons pointed out that he avoids the topic as much as he can, because his following came before the kids and he doesn't want to drive them away with stuff they don't want to read. I took this comment to heart--not because I have any sort of following, but I am aware that most of my readers don't have kids. Though they know me and my kids, they might be more interested in other stuff. (Assuming that anyone is truly interested in what I've got to say about anything.) Adding to that, I read a different article on that discussed how famous athletes aren't accessible. The author noted that while some of them also contributed to blogs, said blogs were, he claimed uninteresting and further described them as masturbatory.

Certainly, I don't want to stray into a blogging universe that is best described as masturbatory--especially when you're sporting a blog name like mine. (Though I guess I can guarantee that my hit count will go up.)

But, enough worrying, I guess. I'll have to just keep the concerns up front as I go forward. (And I'll admit that the next few posts I've got in draft, do indeed concern kids more. Sorry . . .)

Oh, and btw, if you want to see something that is much more "masturbatory"--but isn't in fact . . . well, you know . . . click on this. TRUST ME!


Sarah finished up her soccer season last Monday evening. Going into the match, her team was 0 - 9. Her team had scored a grand total of three goals all season long. The typical score of a typical game was 4 - zip (with Sarah's Blue Dolphins recording the zip.)

But, the girls on the team didn't seem downcast. They played hard--as hard as 7- and 8-year-olds who are learning the sport can play. And they got a drink and a snack after each game, win or lose.

Parents at their kid's sporting events can sometimes be trying. But the Blue Dolphin parents were an easy going lot. We didn't scream at our kids or someone else. We might have grumbled now and then that the other team always seemed more prepared, more skilled, and somehow bigger. But we remembered that Coach Pete wasn't emphasizing wins. He just wanted them to have fun. And I could agree with that. Heck, getting Sarah out in a team setting, in the fresh air, running around for 45 minutes to an hour. That's golden.

And so, we entered the final game of the season, which was in fact one of the two makeup games we had for previous rain outs. Things seemed promising in the first half. The Dolphins were playing hard, running after the ball, and seeming aggressive on the offensive side in ways that they had not been previously. Were they aware that this was their final chance to score, to win? Who knows? I didn't say such things to Sarah, but I can't claim to know what other parents did. Yet, it did seem that the team as a whole was on the ball and was succeeding over the other team of girls in ways we hadn't seen before. And sure enough, before long we achieved that elusive goal that put us ahead.

Late in the first half there was an actual penalty called--even at this age level?--where a handball was called on the other team inside the goal box (or whatever it's called). This resulted in a one-on-one penalty kick. Sarah's teammate successfully got the ball past the opposing goalie. The Blue Dolphins were ahead! With one half to go!

During halftime I found out from another parent sitting next to me that the opposing team (which her daughter was on) also had not won a game this season. Even more promising (for the Dolphins) this team hadn't even managed a goal all season long and were also seeking the first win. If ever there was a team we could beat--avoiding the ignoble disgrace of a winless season, this was that team.

The other Blue Dolphin parents could also sense impending victory. They, who had largely been passive and accepting during the season, now became a collective group of coaches on the opposite side of the pitch from the actual coach. We cheered on our kids (as we had always done), exhorting them to even greater efforts, willing them to win. But, no! The Dolphins (unconditioned as they were to a lead and the pressures of winning, plus beaten down by a grueling 10 game, once/twice-a week schedule, were flagging in the second half. The hapless team of red-shirted opponents began to get their own act together, sensing that their doom was drawing nigh.

And then it happened. The Reds slipped a goal past our second half goalie and verily did they rejoice! Now the Dolphins felt the pressure back on their shoulders. Would they allow these guys to grab a late goal, snatching the victory away? It seemed at times that this was going to happen. The Reds--likely invoking their Warsaw Pact offensive scheme, kept the ball in our zone time and time again, putting the pressure on our defense. Containment was threatening to be breached. The Dolphin parental contingent was foaming at the mouth the prevent the go ahead score.

Thankfully, the whistle blew, ending the game. Detente was achieved and we could all go home, maybe not as winners, but as valiant compatriots, united in preventing the mutually-assured destruction of a winless season.

It is better that way.

Besides, everyone gets a trophy. And Sarah still had the best number of anyone out there--week in or week out.

1 comment:

lulu said...

Your blog, your rules. I like reading about your adventures in parenting, and I'm sure your parents do, too! I think it's great.