6.09.2013

yesterday...

photo from several years ago... kids are slightly taller now
yesterday is gone...
what will we do with today?
just sent my boys and their friends who slept over to walk the dog
the dog is back... they were not gone long
how to distract them from the screens?

ironic? yes.... I am a just another All American Screen Machine
yes... even I need to moderate my screen time

yesterday is gone
what will we do with today?

yesterday was awesome... what about today?

Friday came with rain... enough rain that soccer games on natural grass fields were canceled on Saturday
which was unfortunate... as this would not only be the FOURTH game canceled due to an excess of rain, but this was set to be the last game of the season

so... with the games canceled I started to plot
actually, I anticipated the rain and started to plot on Wednesday of this week



as with the last game of the season comes the awards and an end of season party for our team
our routine over years past has been Cactus Cantina... but... as our kids have gotten larger... they have grown more wild and unable to contain themselves after the meal
so... I tried to figure out something else

when the games are canceled I often try to meet with our scheduled opponents at the turf field at the kids' school, John Eaton
this would be our plan... weather pending
we would also decide if we would have pizza at school or go to Cactus... also weather pending

we would meet...
we just were not so sure if we would play soccer 
and
we were not sure what or where we would be eating

Saturday morning arrived...
the weather was looking good so I scripted an email to the parents of the team about the plan
we would meet at the turf field at John Eaton at NOON
which worked out well... Grant was able to attend 9am Karate along with Dean not having a game until 1:30... thus allowing him to attend his 10:15 Karate as well

my email was sent out and I walked the dogs
as I made sure the boys each ate something and suited up for Karate
all while arguing with the boys about their excess of screen
sadly it seems that the screen thing is ALL OR NONE... and my boys are reaching for ALL

the morning unfolded with a certain measure of ease
I had all the gear I thought I needed for the game/gathering
passing off the food responsibilities to the team
I did not feel like I needed to do it all

as it got closer to noon I was getting frustrated that my older son Dean was not back from Karate yet
I walked up to Bancroft Elementary and pulled him from his class that was going longer
there was no time for discussion
I know the Karate school frustration with their competition for kids with soccer

oh well...

Dean changed from his Karate uniform into his soccer uniform in the car
over the years Dean has become sort of an assistant coach for me
or something to that effect
Dean enjoys being the more advanced player around all of the smaller children

we arrived to the field to find that most of the kids were already there and there was no competition for the field
the use of these "public" fields can be competitive
lots of adults using the fields... preventing kids from using the fields
a diatribe for another day

the kids were playing WORLD CUP... I gave them some time with their game as I settled in
then I whistled and called the kids to the halfway line

the kids started in with the usual... can we do this? can we do that?
"no... please do not suggest things... we are going to play full field
and please do not ask to be on one team or another while I try to focus on making balanced teams"
as soon as I started splitting the kids into what I thought would be evenly matched squads I got facial gestures, raised hands, and requests to be on one team or another

with the teams split I started the game
the boys were STOKED!
there was a higher level of play
some good passing and lots of involvement from all of the kids

the children were playing how I wished that they played every time we play soccer

the email to the parents included one extra line
"have the moms come dressed to play... wear proper footware"

I called out to the kids TWO MINUTES
then gave the Moms a heads up that they were going in
after a few more minutes of play I pulled the kids with the red scrimmage vests off the field and had the mom's take their place
it would be the MOMS VERSUS THE UNDER NINE KIDS

there is something about it...
the Moms really go for it... not sure of their prior soccer experience... but I know that they have been cheering their kids on from the sidelines for years... so they have the basic gist
it was fun... it was moderately comical

the moms were getting tired and getting thirsty... I tried to prevent them from walking off the field and getting water
we break for water when there is a WATER BREAK... not when ever you feel
but the moms much like their children would not listen
then I called off the kids and subbed in a fresh squad

there was more fun
all of the moms were running around playing soccer
doing their best to hold their kids scoreless while doing their best to put the ball in the net
it was a pretty even match

after both sides got a bit of a laugh and a little bit of a work out I called a water break
as people fueled up with water... I set up the kickball field... along with a freshly purchased glow in the dark playground ball

our standard routine for soccer has been to practice soccer for 45-60 minutes... then move to full field where some of the parents play along
but I felt that the kids had all been playing soccer for years, but some of the kids were not getting it
well... not getting some things about the game

so I had been using that second hour with other games
two of the main games were kickball and Ultimate frisbee

it was my feeling that all games build on other games
that these kids have been playing soccer for years and are not seeing some of the things that they should see
something as simple as the goal kick...  not all the kids have a mental measure of who is kicking the ball... there is not a good effort to put themselves where they think the ball is going to be kicked
I figured kickball might help them to intuitively understand this
over a few weeks of playing kickball there was a slight effort to pinch in for some kids and step back for the one's who have a history of kicking it out

although we did not play Ultimate on this day....
on the days we did play Ultimate the goal is for them to understand the GIVE AND GO.... USE OF THE OPEN SPACE... CHANGE OF POSSESSION... and COVERING YOUR MAN!

OH MAN!
the fun of it all... stealing bases... trying to get that extra base
the kids really have fun with the kickball
more fun then they are having with soccer

we played a few innings of kickball
my original intention was to have the kids play against the moms in kickball
but the number of times the ball went over the high fence really broke the rhythm 
the clock was ticking
so... I moved it back to FULL FIELD... KIDS VERSUS KIDS!

again back to full field... not much coaching... and not that much of a need for me to ref the game
the kids were doing a good job of respecting the sidelines and end lines
knowing who had possession and such
both sides played well... there was some good passing and some very solid defense
things were scoreless

finally the pizza arrived and another team showed up looking to use the field
we played a little longer 
trying to speed things up with NEXT GOAL WINS

a glance at the clock and I saw that my older son had better hustle to get to his game
Lisa left off for Dean's game on a turf field not far across town

then finally... LUNCH TIME!

ah... PIZZA!
pizza and the ability to run around
the kids were in all their glory
and the parents were not feeling like they had to manage their kids

kids kicked the balls and passed the frisbee
I handed out the Trophies without much to say about each kids
tried to congratulate them... but had nothing to say
but just as I can type off the top of my head
I can also talk off the top of my head
so something was said for each kid

with trophies in hand and pizza in their bellies the children were ready to go home
we posed for an end of the season photo
then we all separated and headed our separate ways
many of the kids pairing off for late afternoon play dates

parents were thankful for my coaching efforts and for the fun day
we ended on a high note
our losing season ended with smiles
it was good

we also planned for play dates and sleep overs
Grant had plans for a sleep over at a friends house that got a move to our house when I told Grant that we would have an ALLEY PARTY on our block
it was cool to see Grant handle the logistics over the phone
while Dean had a friend dropped off for the afternoon

the kids gathered... they of course turned on their screens
and I of course objected
FORCING THE KIDS TO WALK THE DOG
then... when they returned...
I took the older boys for a decent ride in Rock Creek Park
we rode not far out but we looped some of the hills and got the rush of riding downhill
sure enough... the second kid crashed... which may have been my fault
although I coached him about decreasing his speed before the hill and before the turn
he was braking hard on a sharp turn and went over the handlebars

the ride still had smiles
the weather was righteous

it was a good day
which may have today be a little more lazy
I think that people may be going to my father's for dinner and splash in the pool
other than that
I guess I better structure something
or else we will all spend our days on our various screens



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