Tonight, there will be beer and girls' soccer.
Okay, that might not sound right, but hang with me. I'm the assistant coach of a grades 5-6 girls' youth soccer team. My daughter is on the team and my friend is the head coach. He's coming over so that we can drink a growler of beer and figure out how we want this soccer thing to go. See, beer and girls' soccer, they go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Still, I think we'll both shoot for being sober throughout practices and games. You have to be sharp around girls that age. They'll eat you alive. Or spin you around real fast until you throw up. Either way, it's bad news.
I read an article about youth sports getting crazy competitive. My friend and I have that pretty much under control. We're not too concerned with winning, though it's nice to win a few, and we're solidly focused this being fun for all of us. If it's not, there's no reason to keep doing it.
Another lesson I want to help the girls learn is to focus on getting the ball and scoring. My favorite moment from K-1 soccer was when I asked my older daughter why she wasn't going after the ball"I'm waiting my turn, Daddy." It makes me smile, but I don't want to train anyone's daughter to wait their turn on the soccer field. That's not part of the game. It's not mean to be aggressive. Girls are all too often taught to hold back, let someone else lead. A season of youth soccer isn't going to change all of that, but for a dozen and a half girls, maybe it can.
I want them to go after the ball fiercely and shoot on goal.
I also want them to smile and giggle. I threaten them with tickling if they look sad or angry. I threaten to wipe boogers in their hair. The only thing we'll argue about is the team name. They say Pink Panthers (gag!), I say Pink Fury (now we're talking!).
I like coaching my daughter and her friends. I like assisting my friend with the coaching. And for some odd reason I love to set up the nets. The whole thing is intense but fun, exciting but soothing. It's silly but serious too in that the girls need this sort of thing and my friend and I are having an effect on their lives. I like the balances and tensions inherent in it.
So tonight, there will be beer and intense talk of grade 5-6 girls youth soccer. I'd invite you over, but we've only so much beer in the growler. Besides, other teams might get wind of our grand strategies and boogers.
Even though the girls and parents would likely wonder even more about me, I'm considering having the team charge out onto the field screaming, of all things, "Write on!"