Thursday, October 18, 2007
OK, I know the Parks & Rec doesn't want us to keep score at the kids' soccer games, but, come on, who doesn't? I, for one keep score, as do most of the other parents, and especially the kids. I know the Parks & Rec just wants everybody to have fun and they don't want there to be STAR players, or winners and losers. But, in my opinion, that's what life is all about. Competition. Teamwork. Determination. The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose…..well, unless you’re the Yellow Team in the Bronze soccer division!! Liam's soccer team was UNDEFEATED this season!!!
They had their last game of the season this past Saturday. It was a BE-YOO-tiful fall day and it was the first game that Kevin and I were both able to attend at the SAME TIME. My son's team, the yellow team, won, of course. I forget the score, but they won by quite a lot, although not by as much as the previous Saturday's game when the score was 11-0. Yes, eleven to nothing!
OK, so we weren't there for that game which means Liam didn't contribute to the blow-out (he and Kev were at the Michigan State football game). As a matter of fact, Liam didn’t contribute one goal all season, but he was a stellar defensiveman. However, Mitchell, our team's "secret weapon", (as Liam likes to call him) scored SEVEN goals in that blow-out game!! The coach of the other team had to ask our coach to put Mitchell on defense. I can empathize with that request, because I'm sure the other team was feeling a bit deflated about not scoring, but at the same time, how do you tell a bunch of Kindergarteners and First Graders to tone it back a bit so that the other team doesn't feel bad about losing? You can't do that. And to lose is a valuable life lesson. All of our kids will lose at something at some point in their lives, so they have to learn how to deal with it. (Liam's team had several losses last season - so this applies to my kid, too.) And you know what, you also have to teach kids how to win. Just like there are sore losers, there are also sore winners. I want my kids to learn how to take both their victories and their losses with dignity and grace.
One of my favorite things about these games are the human tunnels each team runs through at the end of the game. It doesn't matter who wins, both teams run through a congratulatory, celebratory tunnel at the end of the game. First, the kids line up and shake hands with the opposing team. As they are doing this the parents on each side of the field join hands to form a tunnel, two tunnels - one on each side of the field. The opposing team runs through our tunnel, while our kids run through the opposing team's tunnel. Then each team runs back to their side of the field, and they run through their own team's tunnel. Whether it's the opposing team or our team running through the tunnel, everyone cheers and shouts encouraging things like "Good Job!" "Way to go!" "Hi Simon!" We are a small town, after all, and there are always kids on the opposing team that you know.
All in all, our season was a success. Our coach really taught the team about positions (what, you mean we're not supposed to run in a pack as if there's a magnetic force drawing every single one of us to the ball?!) and the kids demonstrated great teamwork making deliberate, great passes. When the season first started, I was a bit unsure about the coach (he's the dad of one of Liam's buddies from Kindergarten and he just didn't strike me as a soccer guy), but he turned out to be an AWESOME coach! At the last game, he and his wife gave the kids cupcakes with a soccer shaped plastic ring attached to it and they invited everybody to a party at their house this coming Saturday. We're going to have pizza, ride their horses, and have a bonfire. I'm sure it will be a blast, Or, in Kevin's opinion, it will be an evening of forced family fun. I'm OK with forcing the community spirit upon him. Especially to celebrate our UNDEFEATED Yellow Team and the champions of the Bronze Soccer division!
But who's keeping track?