Saturday, June 2, 2012

Girls 5-6 Soccer Coaching


It's time to discuss a difficult subject. I'm sorry. I know this is uncomfortable for you. It's not easy for me either, but there are things you need to understand and learn to accept. To put it simply, don't ever coach girls 5-6 soccer. It's not good and just might be dangerous. Look at me. I had potential. I could have been something. Now, halfway into a two-year sentence, I'm a fraction of a man.

I've heard that coaching girls soccer is like herding cats. It isn't. I've a history of moving cats across this great country to the hairball ranches of Colorado, and this is not that. It's like a slumber party after the girls get into the liquor cabinet, duck tape me to a chair, and apply nail polish to my toes. There are two ways of looking at it: give in and giggle or wish for God to take me now. I'm undecided about which way to go.

This morning we played the best team in the league. They could beat any team of boys. They've played soccer since birth. Prior to that, their parents whispered soccer plays into the womb. The mothers arranged for the girls to come out on top of a soccer ball, swaddled in a jersey, and strapped into the cutest pair of shin guards you've ever seen. They play in our Fall and Spring league, in summer camps at Syracuse University, and in Winter league. I thinjk three of them made the Olympic team, but you might want to check me on that.

Our team is composed of a lovely group of girls who are willing to try when they aren't too busy discussing hair, nail color, and puppies. Only nine showed up this week, so there were no subs. Good thing we were playing the best team in the league. Who wants rest when we're having this much fun?

I figured we were in trouble when the ref called "purple goalie?" but our goalie was busy staring at something in the distance. I'm pretty sure it was a goose and she was considering how geese lay eggs or why their poop is so green or what kind of goose she would be. When I yelled out, "purple goalie!" she continued to consider goose-life until I called her name and she put her hand in the air to signal her readiness.

That was my daughter.

She went on to play well. She got shot on mercilessly as our girls watched and wondered what they were supposed to do, wondered too why their coaches kept saying such odd things: "protect your goalie," "keep it out of the center," and "for the love of all that's holy, please play soccer!"

I've taken to my bed now. This is better than taking to the bottle and passing out in the back yard muttering, "attack! That's your ball!"

My daughter is downstairs, still in uniform, enjoying a popsicle and happy to have played a good game with her friends. She, like the other girls, is satisfied with having gone out hard, run around until she could have dropped, and having her dad as one of her coaches. She'll be ready to go again next week and so will I. We will play a little better next week and the week after that. I'll work on seeing the game on the field instead of one I imagine when anxiety gets the better of me. Even now, after a tough morning, I remember my daughter stopping two shots on goal and playing great defense. Every girl out there did at least three things well.

Hell, if I think about it enough, I can even imagine that the coaching thing is paying off too and that I can get up out of bed and see if anyone wants to go out and kick a ball around, just for fun.

Kick and write on.