The thrill of victory

Brayson, left, and Dylan, right, compete in the traditional soccer ritual of fighting over a tree branch.

Brayson, left, and Dylan, right, compete in the traditional soccer ritual of fighting over a tree branch.

About two months ago, my wife signed our son Dylan up for AYSO soccer for the fall season. But when she did so, she also signed us up to coach. Yikes.

I spent as much time playing or watching soccer in my youth as I did learning to write sanskrit.

Anyway, there was nothing I could do about it (except moan and whine a little), so I’ve tried to make the best of it. Brooke is listed as the head coach, so all of the responsibility isn’t on me, thank goodness.

We have 5 kids, ages 4-6. And we struggled early on.

Eventually, we gave up on drills and tried to just let them play. It didn’t do much good to worry about what they were learning if they hadn’t grasped the basic concepts of which direction they were trying to take the ball, passing to teammates, scoring and not letting the opposition score.

So after the first game was a disaster, the guys have slowly improved.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the occasional on-field breakdown. We’ve had players walk off to hug a parent mid game, and Dylan and Brayson, my nephew, have actually fought over a tree branch during a game. That’s not that hard to believe, seeing as how the two of them them have to be separated for hugging and wrestling each other when they are on the field together.

Last week, though we aren’t supposed to keep score at this age group (there are also no goalies), we almost finished in a tie, missing our last shot off the post as the game ended.

A step forward.

This week, however, was a breakthrough. We’re not supposed to keep score, but let’s just say, we had somewhere between 5 and 7 and the other guys had somewhere between 3 and 5. And even though the reason we don’t keep score is to ensure it’s all about having fun and learning the game for the kids at this level, don’t think they didn’t realize what was going on.

They knew. And the post-game snacks were a little tastier Saturday.

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