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Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The Boy™ scored his first goal in the youth soccer (ages 4-6) league last night.

He's had a pretty good season overall, having one goal waved off and then being stoned at point blank range on three shots he needed to put more leg into. He's also a go-to goalie, having been in net more often than any other member of the team. He's mobile and smothers the ball, which is what the coach wants. He's also good with the clears. He was in net for their one loss (3-1), but the other team was playing at a different level.

His team, the Raiders, is 8-1 going into its last game on Thursday. Last night, they beat one of the other 2 teams that had only one loss, and convincingly: 7-0.

I have fought against (and hopefully succeeded) becoming one of Those Parents. Yes, I am loud, but it is an encouraging loud, cheering for all of the kids on the team. And I felt really sorry for the first half goalie for the other team, who was absolutely shelled (5 goals, D3's being the 4th) and in tears.

The Boy reacted to his score with a cool glance to the sideline and two thumbs up, which caused a lot of laughter. I found out after, though, that he was bent on scoring. He told my Mom and Dad that his internal monologue was "You're going down!" as he took his shots.

It's been a lot of fun, and he's on a good team. One of the girls, Abby, is absolutely lethal (she had a hat trick last night, but has scored at least one goal in every game). When she has the ball, everyone relaxes and watches the clinic. The coach's son, Anthony, is another wizard with the ball and a good teammate who does whatever he's asked without question--no coach's son syndrome there. Nico, the son of European immigrants, would be unstoppable if he didn't have a "Give Me 40 Acres and I'll Turn This Ball Around" approach to moving the ball. Dylan and Matthew are also good, rangy players with deft scoring touches. Dale's about their level, skill-wise. Ben is our nephew (son of Heather's brother) and has been absolutely robbed on about four scoring chances. He really mixes it up well and moves the ball around the field. He also own-goaled his surprised but forgiving cousin.

Then there are the 4 year olds. Avery is a neat little red-headed girl who used to stand on the field and cry at the beginning of games. Now she charges into the scrums like a rugby player, to the delight of her mom and everyone else who has watched the transformation. Eric is the assistant coach's son. Eric is a good natured kid, but I think he'd rather be wrestling. He's a good friend of Ben and they like to put each other in hammerlocks when they are both playing fullback. In fact, Eric likes putting a lot of people in hammerlocks. He also has been known to tune out when the ball is far, far away. Then there's Jake, the smallest of the lot by about four inches. His team shirt hangs on him like a tent. His mom promised him a toy light saber if he scored a goal, and sure enough, she's had to pay up. He also likes to get in the middle of the action, which has to be a little scary for his parents.

A salute to the coaches is also in order. They are good guys who recognize that this is just about having fun (no wagering, please). The head coach regularly puts the brakes on, shuffling the best players to defense or the sidelines when it threatens to become really embarrassing. He even played five-a-side with a team that would have had no substitutions otherwise.

Thursday's the last game of the summer season, but we are already signing the Freckled Beckenbauer up for the spring campaign. And are going to McDonald's afterward.

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