Friday, April 26, 2013

Early Soccer Notes

Four weeks into our inaugural soccer season, some things we have learned:
  • Thank God our son does not play for the Colombian National team. After he put two into his own net one week, I would have expected him and most of the rest of our family to be murdered in cold blood over ice cream at the local Friendly’s.  But we don’t live in a soccer-crazed South American nation, just Delaware. Grimacing after each own goal, I soon realized that all of our pickup games involving nets in the basement—soccer, hockey, basketball—had only one net, and that all goals are good things. (Maybe for three year-olds they still are.) We’ll work on putting the ball in the correct net going forward. I also realized that nobody really cares about three-year-old soccer except me, judging by the relative indifference of the crowd after those own goals. “I won’t be that dad, I won’t be that dad, I won’t be that dad.”

  • My kids simply aren’t mean enough. Maybe it goes back to that one-net thing, but both my son and daughter act as more of gatekeepers, when not outright facilitators, for the other team. “Need to get by? Sure! Let me just back out of your way here,” my daughter might have said as an alternative to impeding an opponent’s path to the goal. She’s like a maid after all the dinner guests have arrived. It’s all I can do to not scream, ‘Take the ball away!” to a girl who is used to me screaming, “Don’t take that ball away from your brothers!” We’ll teach the need for some well-placed aggression going forward as well. That should be fine, me introducing more contention into a sibling relationship.” I won’t be that dad, I won’t be that dad, I won’t be that dad.”

  • Grown men will never be able to keep their mouths shut when they don’t like the team on your sweatshirt. Two weeks ago, I guess someone’s kid was in our way, and his dad admonished him to get out of our way until he realized, “Oh never mind, he’s a Penguins fan.” By the time I realized he was talking about us, he had started the “polite laugh but I really meant it,” laugh. By the time I started my “Oh I get it, you’re kidding, but if it were just the two of us here I’d probably try to hip-check you into the concession stand” retaliatory laugh, he had stopped laughing and moved on into the crowd. This will continue as long as men roam the Earth.


Scott said...

If you think watching kids soccer is crazy wait until someone talks you into coaching it. I like to describe it as trying to play a soccer video game but instead of a controller you have to tell all the players where to move and they may or may not respond to anything you say.

JC said...

I'm putting off coaching as long as I possibly can...both because of the kids and the parents. The conundrum, though, is the longer I wait til the kids actually understand what I'm saying, the more likely their parents will try to meddle and rip me for not playing Johnny enough, etc. I should sign up tomorrow for 4-yr-old soccer in the fall, then retire.

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