Tuesday, April 24, 2007

That's All Right, That's OK...

Let me warn you now. There will be rambling.

I've been thinking a lot about my soccer team recently. One of the kids on my team had his Bar Mitzvah about a week and a half ago. He talked about soccer in his speech, and lots of people talked to me about soccer that day. People I had never met knew me as the soccer coach. I think the nicest thing anyone said was that the soccer team has been the core that has held his group of friends together for so long. I've been coaching many of these kids since they were 5, and I've only got 2 and a half seasons before I turn them over to the high school.

Let the rambling begin.

I have a soccer game this afternoon, and I'll be missing about a third of my team. There's a band concert that starts right about the same time our game ends, and the kids will be there. The kids on the team are nice, smart kids, and they're into a lot of stuff.

Being nice is a great trait for future citizens. It's been a thorn in my side since day one. They aren't going to run through the ball, because it means that the other kid is probably going to end up knocked on his ass. The kids on other teams don't have this same concern. My kids have broken through the defense and stopped to make sure that the other kid is OK instead of heading for the goal while I gnashed my teeth on the sideline. It doesn't matter how often I repeat the referee's mantra that you play hard until the ref blows the whistle, and then you play a little less hard the next time. They just won't foul the obnoxious little psycho on the other team no matter how much he deserves it or what the ref is allowing. They don't talk smack on the field, and they get mad when the other team does. They're nice kids. Oh, they'll kill each other in practice, but they'll only treat their friends that way.

Ramble on...

We were playing Taboo with the kids and in-laws a couple of weeks ago. I nailed "sunglasses" with a pretty credible imitation of Corey Hart that lasted all of three words. But the weirdest moment for me was when my son got "lawyer" with this exchange:

"My friends' parents are these."
"Professors?"
"No!"
"Scientists?"
"No! The other one!"
"Lawyers?"
"Yeah!"

How weird is it that lawyer is "the other" profession after professor/scientist? I have a lot of really bright kids on my team. Sports is usually not their top priority, they're into lots of stuff.

Crap. I literally just had another parent email to tell me that their kid is going to be at the band concert. I can't field a full team now no matter what happens, even if everybody else does show up. I'm down to 10 players for the first half, 8 for the second. Two players are going to race from the field to the concert at half-time.

So where was I? Other activities? One of my players just came back to the team after taking a couple of years off from soccer. Part of the time, he had a conflict with fencing. Fencing, how cool is that? I should take up fencing. That would totally rock. Maybe in about 13 months. If Lex still played violin, we'd have at least half the team playing a musical instrument.

Here's the thing: there was a time, not so long ago, when we were the dominant team in our park district league. Then the league gutted our team to "balance the teams". They took most of our best players and gave them to other teams. None of our kids play club soccer, because they don't like the attitude of the kids that play on the local traveling club. To be fair, most of those kids are assholes. Don't look at me like that. There are plenty of adults who are assholes. They probably started out as kids that were assholes. Some kids are assholes. We all know it, I'm just the one saying it out loud ...metaphorically speaking. I also get a lot of the kids who are just starting soccer, probably because the parents know that I'll give their kids the same amount of playing time as everyone else on the team. We're a rec league; we're supposed to do that. If your kid plays on another team, good luck with that.

We've gone for a while without a good season. In fact, we've gone a couple of seasons without a win. Honestly, this will probably be another one. Now, the most competitive kids (or at least, the kids with the most competitive parents) develop "scheduling conflicts" and end up on another soccer team. That's OK. I'd rather have players with a great attitude and a terrible record than a terrible attitude and a great record. That said, I wouldn't mind winning one now and then. This year we're all seventh graders in a seventh and eighth grade league. Those eighth graders are huge. Maybe next year when we're all eighth graders, unless the park district decides to balance the team again.

A long time ago, I named our team after the Chicago Fire (the soccer team, not the disaster... Stop that, I do the jokes here.), but I'm beginning to think that I named them after the wrong Illinois team. I think maybe we're Northwestern...

Addendum:
OK, that's what I get for not following college sports. It appears that Northwestern may actually have a pretty good soccer team. Lord help us, I think we might be the Cubs.

10 comments:

Johnny Yen said...

"I think we may be the Cubs..."

God help you.

Johnny Yen said...

BTW, was the title of that post a reference to Coven, the movie Mark Bouchard was trying to make in "American Movie?"

deadspot said...

I probably should have changed the title... it was a reference to a Northwestern cheer. I was trying to find the one with all the greek philosophers but I couldn't track it down.

This one is much shorter: "That's all right, that's OK, you'll be working for us some day."

You know, because Northwestern students are smart, but not so great at sports... except, apparently, soccer. Who knew?

BeckEye said...

Thank you for the Britney Blue head. It's lovely!

Flannery Alden said...

Some kids *are* assholes. Way to call 'em like you see 'em.

Natalie said...

Some kids really are assholes, it's ok. Some are my favorite cousins. I took fencing for gym credit in college. I had to wear a stupid helmet and metal plates in boob pockets inside the fencing garb. I was also told to snarl and look mean at my best friend, this only created peals of laughter. I sucked at fencing, but it was fun.

deadspot said...

No problem, Becks. I aim to please.

It seems clear to us that some kids are assholes, but just try telling their parents...

That's cool, Natalie. I was going to take fencing in college to fill out my schedule one semester, but I managed to pick up a class I needed during drop/ads and I didn't have space for fencing after all.

lulu said...

I don't know the philosopher cheer, but I've always liked this one.

E to the u du dx,
E to the x, dx.
Cosine, secant, tangent, sine,
3 point 1 4 1 5 9.
Integral, radical, mu, dv
Slipstick, sliderule, MIT!

deadspot said...

I learned how to use a sliderule once upon a time. My uncle ran across a box of old junk from his high school days and asked if I wanted any of the stuff he wasn't planning to keep. All of the scientists in the Heinlein books I'd read as a kid used sliderules (since they'd been written before calculators), so it seemed like a cool thing to know how to do, even if I would never need to actually use one.

Yeah, I was totally popular in high school...

Bonus trivia: Slipstick was geekslang for sliderule back in the 50s and 60s when people actually used them.

Writeprocrastinator said...

If you needed a soccer thug, you should've posted something earlier than this. I would've shaved and flew out there.

I was so clumsy at indoor soccer when I was eleven, that I would play through the ball all the time and people would wind up hurt. Call me the unintentional "Marty McSorely of Soccer."