10.07.2012

people are funny... they can be awkward and uncomfortable around each other

yesterday was SOCCER SATURDAY!
only one problem... it was a three day weekend
with the Monday off they do not schedule Rec Soccer on Saturdays so that families may travel on these dates and not miss the game

well...
it has been our routine over the years to try and get the team together on these days even without the formal schedule
not a mandatory meeting... but a meeting offered up to those who can make it
actually... in REC nothing is mandatory
that said...
the kids in the Rec league to not play enough soccer
most of these kids are developing at a slow rate
just one practice a week and just one game a week is a slow climb up the skill ladder

two hours of meeting for soccer only offers up so many opportunities to touch the ball
rec kids tend not to touch the ball enough
more "just for fun" than drills tend to be the recipe
I get it... scrimmaging is fun

we do drills and we scrimmage
scrimmaging is the desert after the meal

Thursday's practice had gone well and I had not given any thought to the approaching three day weekend
perhaps in part because I am working Monday which has me not really considering it a three day weekend
other than the fact my wife will not be at work so that she can watch the boys... who do not have school
so... the weekend was approaching with no formal plans for a soccer meet up

to my pleasure there was a electronic message between the U9 Rec coaches...
a team from our soccer league was looking to get together with another team to have a "friendly" Saturday match
over the electronic communication of email I sent a strong maybe to this coach as I tried to rally the team

over the course of Friday I had a multitude of messages with the parents of our team and with this other coach

there was varied interest from the Eaton Futbol Club... sure enough... a number of people were traveling over the weekend
and a number of other families were taking advantage of the soccer-less Saturday to do other things
yet it seemed we would have enough kids to field a 7 vs. 7 game
so... we set up a meeting time and location

Saturday morning came and I sent the boys off to morning Karate
with young Grant back in just enough time to jump out of his Karate uniform and put in his soccer gear
Grant and I left out a little early to try and stake a claim to the turf field at John Eaton Elementary School
the school where 99% of the players of our team go to school
a field that is often dominated by adult play

well...
we arrived at the field not shocked to find some adults playing pick up
they paused and I put in a request for taking the field at 11:30... which gave them an additional 25 minutes
they were fine with this... they had been playing all morning and were about to call it quits
this was one of the more friendly if not the only friendly encounter I had ever had when dealing with the adult pick up players on the elementary school playgrounds with turf soccer fields

yes... they were polite... they were understanding of our request... they even invited some of the adults to balance their field to a solid 4 Vs 4
I sent then a teenage German kid that is staying with one of the kid's on my team's families
after a few minutes of play the adults tried giving up the field
but instead I gave them in a coaches tone... "you have 12 more minutes! PLAY HARD!"

our team showed up slowly
our opponents showed up
kids were showing up in our BLUE uniforms and them in their GREEN
we were still waiting to get enough kids to field a 7 player team kids made good use of the time by playing on the play ground equipment
while the parents surveyed the playground to get ideas for the renovation of their school's playground

promptly at 11:30 we took the field... we did some warm ups before playing a proper game
luckily I invited a player from last season who recently changed school... oddly enough he changed schools to the same school as the opponents of the day
and another child brought a friend
not only would we have had too few kids to field a team without these players
but these players were as strong as our strongest and would prove to be a solid contribution to the day

the game went as many games do...
there were parent coaches making more calls favoring their team than the other team
and there was the basic coach vs. coach conflict
just as women can be weird or awkward with other woman
men are no different... not that I was competing for Alpha position... but there are subtle messages that happen between people that we do not always intend

well... there was one nice save by our goalie that had the opponent and the parents celebrating a goal
but I called it a save...  not a goal... as the ball has to cross over the line

ScoringAccording to the International Football Association, "a goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the cross bar." The outside of the goal is determined by the outermost edge of the goal posts and cross bar. If the ball does not fully cross the plane created by these three bars, a goal is not awarded.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/412828-does-the-ball-have-to-be-all-the-way-across-the-goal-line-to-score-in-soccer/#ixzz28cZQJ4FV

sometimes the right call is not the best call for interpersonal relations
but... I was calling it honest and I was calling it fair

it was before this moment in the game that our team started to get some confidence and build some momentum
it was an even match... but our team was scoring more goals... soccer plays out that way
the other team had some unlucky bounces and we had some lucky saves

it was a good game... the kids were getting some solid practice 
it was just what we set out to provide

there was one funny moment... really the moment that I wanted to share
a moment that inspired the typing... all of this was just an intro to this moment
a moment that may define the relations between the other coach and myself
as said... sometimes people send out non-verbal communication to each other
although I had a friendly introduction with a number of the parents
the meeting with the other coach was short and to the point... it did not help that he was later than everyone else

backtrack...
after warm ups he had his team to set up to take the kick off... and he assigned himself the roll of referee 
while assigning me the duty of line judge
which I denied
accepting the kick off for his team and his self assignment as referee were fine... but I did not need him telling me to take the assignment of line judge

this may have been one of those moments
this man may have just wanted to expedite things... but his taking full control on my "home field"
well... that may have subtlety effected my maleness
to a level I may not have even noticed

at one point in the game our team was ahead... are ahead pretty much the whole game and well... no one likes to lose... I know this... I know I hate to lose

we were  ahead in the tally of goals and one of their players goes for a throw in
the little boy takes the throw in and a few dads on the side line give a hearty "Good Throw Bobby!"
well... I am not sure what the kid's name was... but the intention is the same
I turned back to the parents and said... well... it was not a good throw... it was an illegal throw in.. the child was on the field and jumped, lifting both feet off the ground when he took the throw in the in

this does not constituted a "good throw" and in my mind does not merit compliment
well... the other coach... was curt and told me to keep it to myself

well...
in my mind I feel that we have issues with our parenting
too often I witness that people set the hurdle too low
yes... it is foolish to set the hurdles too high for our children
but often parents set the hurdles too low

cheering on a child for not so much their good play...  but any play
watering down the reward

it was a combination of things...
this guy was the alleged ref... throw ins are pretty basic
by third grade the kids should start to get it
last year we lost a game because the opponent threw in illegally each time...
thus throwing the ball further illegally than they could throw legally 
getting forward momentum on each and every play
a few plays turning into goals

the correct procedure is to call back the throw in... give the child some instruction and a second attempt
if the second effort is not legal
then the throw in changes hands

I admit... I am more for the "let them play" way of officiating the game than calling everything
incidental hand balls... kick offs where the ball does not move forward... illegal throw ins... whatever
there should be some correction... but for the most part the flow of the game is more important

the kids played well
often someone wins and someone loses

it was a good way to spend the Saturday... the kids need more soccer
I feel that all of the kids who showed up and played had a good day of soccer

I am not a fly on the wall... I do not know what this other coach took away from this experience...
more than likely... he would have felt much differently had his team won...  

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