November 18, 2008

First the Worst, Second the Best

We had 80 degree weather for the end-of-season tournament for my under-10 boys soccer team. We had a terrific team, going undefeated in the first eight games (5-0-3) before losing to a team that played dirty but still deserved to win the game. My boys lost their focus and were so concerned about their unblemished record that they forgot all the things they'd learned throughout the year. So we finished the regular season 5-1-3 and the third seed in the tournament.

Our tournament had two groups of three teams each, and group play comprised three games. The top team in each group would advance to the championship, and the second in each group would advance to the consolation. We had a tough road ahead with a rematch against the team that beat us, a match against a top team we had not faced, and another match against a middling team we had not yet faced. And I was worried that we had lost our focus and reverted to typical 9-year-old style (imagine the Peanuts characters in their Halloween costumes, with a soccer ball at their feet). Bunch ball.

But I needn't have worried. Our boys came out on fire and dominated the first game, 4:1. In the rematch against the team that had beaten us, we played hard and could have won but for an unfortunate own goal; we still earned a tie, 2:2. What was great was that not one single player yelled at the boy who scored the own goal. Instead, they rallied and played even harder. It all came down to our third game--win and get the championship, or lose and go home. We came out smoking again and dominated, winning 3:1.

The championship game didn't go so well because our boys were tired (we have only 2 subs on the roster where most teams have 4, so four games in two days is tough). Still, it was a great game, and I am so phenomenally proud of the team for making it to the championship game. Even a 2:0 loss to a very deserving champion felt like a win to me. Plus, we got these really nifty trophies for coming second.

I was going to retire from coaching, but I think I may try my hand at U12 next year after all.


Sarah Laurenson said...

Congrats! Sounds like they learned a lot of lessons in this tourney and came out of it with good sportsmanship. You're a great dad and coach!

Robin B. said...

Hey, sounds wonderful! Congratulations, Pete and boys!

JaneyV said...

That's brilliant! Congratulations to you all.

Precie said...

Good job, boys!!! (I just have to say that the happiest point in your narrative for me was that teammates didn't boo or treat the own-goal kid badly but instead mobilized to work even harder. :) Yay!)

Congrats to you and the kids!

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

That's awesome! Congrats to the team and the coach! You sound like a great coach and you should not hang it up!

And I can say that my Oldest's soccer team played well and lost to a team who had a ringer (swear the girl was not in 4th grade! she was as big as a middle schooler!) and some dirty tactics (constant elbows being thrown in chests and faces. The ref was a high school kid and not efficient so Oldest's team lost but they still came in 2nd in the conference and got trophies.

writtenwyrdd said...

Sounds like a good season and a good final series and fun was had by all.

Blogless Troll said...

Congrats coach!