Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yes, I Should Be Embarassed To Post A Photo This Bad. But I'm Not.

It’s so loud. Around me voices shout, “Tough D! Tough D! Tough D!”, “Get your SHIRT on!”, and “Aim at the OTHER goal! But you’re doing good!”

Welcome to U9 soccer. We had a great thing going last spring when, in a pinch, a guy coaching another team volunteered to coach our boys as well. The son of our previous coach decided he liked baseball better so we were stuck. This guy had years of soccer experience and pushed the boys hard. They learned a lot, he treated them kindly, and he put up with NOTHING in the whole realm of nonsense. I would pay the man to coach my kid if that was an option.

This fall Kenny was placed on another team and it’s been a very different experience. We have the boy who bursts into tears several times each practice and game. Another who fights EVERYONE for the ball, including and especially his teammates. We have a pusher and a tripper as well. This afternoon the ball hog pushed Kenny down and laid on him in an attempt to get the ball. FROM HIS OWN TEAMMATE. Kenny’s not sure what to think about all of this but I’ve tried to reassure him that we can probably switch teams next fall so he can play with some boys from school. Maybe. I don’t know. We’ll see.

On this team of differently-abled kids, Kenny is the gravity-challenged one. This morning we shook our heads as we watched him kick the ball and land on his butt. Over and over. He seemed to be doing this on purpose which was a little confusing but the boy does have a flare for the dramatic.

During the second game the coach put him in as goalie for the first time and it was a beautiful thing. That total willingness to fling himself to the ground paid off as he launched himself at each ball. The parents started calling him “The Wall”. It actually became fun to watch again. If I could just drown out the noise to my left.


The family next to me at Kenny’s second game of the day was sporting an additional grandma and she’s a loud one. At regular intervals she’d let loose with something that sounded remarkably like some sort of Middle Eastern ululation. She looked to be about 85 and seemed to know everything about the game. She appeared frustrated that these 8 and 9 year olds weren’t playing according to the rules and yelled, “Offsides! Offsides!” As her daughter told her they don’t even know what that means, she shouted, “Take it from him! Take it from the little FART!” Grandma was scaring me.

When it was all over including the shouting and the clouds threatened sprinkles, we headed to the car. As we walked I asked Kenny what he thought of the voices he heard from the sides. Did it feel encouraging? Could he make out what anyone was saying?

“No. It’s just annoying.”

Watching the game I thought about how I’d feel having all those parents hollering from the sidelines while I tried to do something. I think the only reason they don’t yell SHUT UP right back at us is because they know how that would play out 9 times out of 10.

Well friends, it’s the final hours of Sausage Fest. I can hear them whooping it up as I sit here in our room. Michael Sr. and I wandered over earlier with Josh and Take 2 was much better. We saw lots of friends, including Jason McDermott and his wife Sonya! I hadn’t seen Jason since Spanish class 21 years ago (Yes, I am that old). Josh played lots of games and the three of us pigged out till dark watching pre-teens perform semi-erotic hip hop as well as a Christian rock band. Sausage Fest has it ALL. And if I walk over in an hour or two I can score half-price corn-on-the-cob too. What more could I ask for?
Posted by Picasa


  1. Hey Tiff- It was great to see you too, if only for a brief and kid-interrupted conversation. Naveen too scored the pooping chicken (oops, I mean egg-laying). I'm so proud.

    We should get together sometime soon when there are not as many distractions...

  2. Your soccer experience sounds like why my mom never wanted us to be a part of organized sports...mainly baseball. And my first thought about the "silence challenged Grandma" was that I wondered why Dean's mom was there...haha. Let's just say that she is a very "supportive" Grandma when it comes to sports. You handled it very well...not sure how I would have handled it. I probably would have had to ask forgiveness for the words and thoughts that I silently came up with for that vocal fan. Glad that Kenny is having a good time.


So, what do you think?