July 17, 2007

Tiffany Roberts Fan Club

I remember when Tiffany Roberts, Carondelet grad, was selected for the US Women's national soccer team. Local girl elevated to the highest level of the sport, played in two World Cups, won an Olympic Gold Medal... big star by any reckoning, for sure. I often rooted for her specifically when I watched the team play since she came from the same area where my children were born and are now growing up. Today I became a huge fan.

About two weeks ago, the pickup soccer game I play in on Tuesday lunchtime was kicked off a nearly empty field because the youth coach who had the field reserved... well, I can't understand what his motivation was. His practice covered roughly 25% of the field, leaving far more room than our group could possibly have used. I doubt our wild shots would even come near their practice. But we had to play on a nearby drainage field with a 3% grade. Around here, youth soccer really hates adult soccer, but I can't understand why.

Today, our pickup game arrived at Arbolado field, and a girls soccer camp was underway in the back corner. Again, they had about 25% of the field marked out with cones. Tons of little girls and medium girls looked like they were having a total blast. That's when I saw the big Tiffany Roberts Soccer banner.

We set up our game on the far side of the field and played for about 40 minutes. Then, two of the camp officials came over and... politely asked us to move to a different part of the field because they needed the two goals nearby. They apologized and were sweet as can be, recognizing that (a) we were not interfering with them and (b) we were enjoying the world's greatest sport. Rather than treat us as enemies and interlopers (I'm sure they had the entire field reserved and totally had the right to boot us off), they treated us as friends.

We played and finished our game without any problems (one of the guys twisted his ankle), and we were gone forty minutes later. I just looked up the camp online, and it's four full days for $350. Six hours a day (that's 24 hours for those of you keeping score at home), and the girls got a ball, a tee shirt, and a water bottle. That works out to about $13 an hour, which is reasonable compared to any other activity. Compare to piano lessons at $40 an hour, or tennis at $30 an hour. And the girls looked like they were having a blast.

So I'm the newest fan of Tiffany Roberts. She seems like she simply loves the game and wants others to love it, too, and sharing fields is not a problem for her. Unlike local youth coaches who seem to think that adults with soccer balls are worse than vampire zombie pirates or something.

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