Sunday, April 04, 2010
I made it official. I now put the "ass" in Assistant Coach for a bunch of U-6ers one of which is my son Maceo, now 4.
The team is composed of mostly first-time soccer players mixed in with a couple of 5-year old ringers. At the other end of the spectrum there are the oblivious ones, who I like to call "daisy pickers," that I try to point in the general direction of the goal. The head coach is the father of one of Maceo's classmates and a fellow soccer fanatic so we get along well. Practices are a mix of stretching, FUNdamentals, and scrimmage. We understand the main thing is for kids to exercise, learn teamwork, and be good sports. And pass! Pass!
It's been more fulfilling that I originally expected it to be. I was admittedly reluctant at the task of corralling a bunch of 4-5 year olds and teaching them the game I love but it's good times. When they do something you tell them to and it pays off — like making a good defensive play or scoring — the kids break into a big smile and it melts you. I've laughed out loud during these moments. I also realize that scoring their first goal ever is a significant moment in their lives so I try to respect that.
1) The kids always ask: "Did we win?" and "What's the score?" My answer is always a frank "We're all winners" and "The score is FUN-to-FUN". I scoffed at the concept of "fun-to-fun" games as important lessons are learned from losing as well as winning but at age 4? Scoring is moot.
2) One of the coaches this weekend was this pressurized Korean dude who ran his charges like a confused drill instructor. He'd position his kids all over the field for kickoffs and inbound play. I felt bad for the players because they're just learning the game and he's peppering them with questions like, "Why are you doing that?" He was going off on his son and the boy pushed him in the face. Wow. The parents on our team are a supportive lot, thankfully.
3) Before we start we do a roar and chant "Tigers!" and I do that rap show cliche where I feign disgust that they're "not loud enough" so they get fired up and yell louder. I think they're excited because it's the only time they're encouraged to roar and scream.
4) Maceo is a borderline daisy picker and it's secretly killing me. :)