Sports Don't Build Character: They Reveal It
Yesterday, we played a team that slaughtered us 6-0 two weeks ago, and we were missing two of our best players-- both goalies-- so I wasn't particularly hopeful about our chances, but we packed it back and played everything to the outside and my son Ian played goalie in the first half-- he was very excited for this assignment and we went to the field early and trained (because he hadn't played goalie all season) and he played fantastic, and our defense picked up everyone goal-side, and then our other goalie played even better in the second half, but we were taking a beating; they were bigger and faster than us, and had a habit of kicking, tripping, and running us over from behind, and we went down 1-0, even though we were producing lots of chances, and then-- in the second half-- we finally finished one and tied the game and we were excited and pushing hard to score another and my son went down hard -- and this was the second time in the game that he got fouled so hard that he was seriously crying, real tears, and he's a tough kid who generally gets hammered because he dribbles too much and deals with hard fouls every game-- but for the second time one of their players kicked him from behind, this particular time he beat a kid on the dribble and the kid teed off and kicked him in the back of the knee and then kicked him in the head after he went down-- and so I lost my temper, which admittedly should not have happened-- you're supposed to keep your cool in front of the kids-- but the opposing team was consistently hurting my players, so at least I had good reason, and I told the ref and the opposing coaches that their team's behavior was disgraceful and the other team's coaches told me that if my players "stayed on their feet" and stopped "flopping" then there wouldn't be any problem and then things got chippy and ugly and the game ended up a tie, which I thought was a fantastic result, especially since we far outplayed them and there were six or seven totally ugly fouls committed by the opposing side, with no direction to do otherwise by their coaches (despite the fact that whenever my kids foul, my assistant and I pointed out the problem . . . and the last time we played this team, they were equally as rough, but that ref really took charge of the game and told kids what they were doing wrong . . . this ref called some fouls but didn't really take charge) but this is all run-of-the-mill stuff, HERE IS THE IMPORTANT PART, the part of the story that made me more and more indignant as the day went on, though I was laughing about it when it happened: after the game, the the player who scored for us-- and I can't impress on you how small this kid is, he's the smallest kid on our team, and we have a small team-- he was shooting around with my son and some other players and the ball rolled behind the goal and the opposing head coach, who was next to his car, about to leave, picked up this little kid's ball-- and the kid was walking toward the coach to get the ball (a new ball he just received a week ago for his 11th birthday) and instead of rolling it back to him, or passing it back to him, or even just leaving it, the head coach picked up the ball and he PUNTED it as far as he could, over the high fence and deep into the dog park . . . and this opposing team hails from the town where I work, a large and fiercely competitive soccer town-- so cheers to the Vultures, your valiant draw made an adult behave like a complete and utter idiot.