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17 November 2007

Play Ball!

A cool Saturday morning in the ‘hood. Perfect for Tournament soccer. Emily is energized and I am fueled with the familiar blood gushing eagerness to compete. This is my 4th season as assistant coach of Emily’s team and the experience has been a real lesson in ‘tween’ sociology, it has tested my management skills and has reminded me why herding cats is seldom met with success. I challenged Emily a couple of years ago to decide between playing soccer for fun only or playing for fun and competition. The team she was on was losing and she was learning very little about soccer so the fun she having was marginal anyway. Thankfully, she chose competition and skill development so off we went to a higher age bracket in a more competitive division. Emily is the youngest and smallest player on the team…and can be a ferocious ankle biter and major contributor when she wants to be. These young ladies are not motivated by the same thing adults are, or dogs for that matter. And what motivates kids one week is seldom the same thing that motivates them the next week. Hormones? Perhaps. Sugar imbalance? Probably. Dain Bramage? Possibly. Parents of older teens tell me that we are lucky, the real fun doesn’t even begin for a couple more years. So, my ‘win one for the gipper’ speech doesn’t get much traction with this crowd. And since I am not a ‘play well and I’ll buy you ice cream’ kind of guy, I am stuck somewhere between ranting about helping the team and just being physically present and the other end of the spectrum of the less than ideal, “please get your head in the game”, “please do SOMETHING!” and “put than cell phone away, can’t you refrain from texting boys for at least the HOUR that we are together!?!” Jeesh.

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