Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Second Place is the First Loser

Its hard to lose.  Its even harder to see your kids lose.

We didn't know what to expect going into soccer tournaments.  For years, we've played in a recreation league.  A mix of skills and genders, Dads as coaches.  When we signed on with a soccer alliance, we knew we took it to the next level.  We didn't do it for us, we did it because JJ has shown more interest in the sport and welcomed the challenge that a tougher league might be.

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Of course there was nerves before the first game. JJ was up with the sun. He stood at the foot of the bed, asking me if I was ready for my coffee, fully dressed in his uniform. We got going and headed over to the fields to meet up with his team. A gangly bunch of ten and eleven year olds that giggled and gossiped but couldn't resist the urge to kick around a ball. This was JJ's heaven.

Play started. I was positioned mid field with my mega beast (I rented the 100-400 L for the weekend). Gene was next to me, some place unfamiliar to him at soccer games. We watched the boys in orange scurry around the field and then magic happened.

JJ scored!

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You could see the weight lifted off his shoulders. All he wanted to do was score a goal. Winning or losing didn't matter (at this point).

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Play continued. They won their first game, had a long rest during the rest of the day, and then played their first night game. They were smoking hot. They won the second game and recieved a place in the semi finals the next day. It was a late night with another early rising, but JJ was pumped and ready to go.

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He looks so intense when he plays. The team played like it was the world cup. It was awesome to see them come together. They had only been practicing a few weeks and before the tournament had only played one game together. The semi's was a breeze and the boys won themselves a spot in the championship match. At this point, I didn't care if they won or not. JJ had just won his first athletic award. (Both first and second place received medals). For years, JJ had been awarded participation trophies or he's won first place because there was no one else in his division. This was his first real merit award. And he earned it, every drop of sweat.

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They fell apart in the championship game. It was hot, they were tired. It was a mess, but it was fun. JJ was disappointed they didn't win, but he said it was fun and he couldn't wait to do it again.

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For that, I would do it all again too!

1 comment:

  1. I'm proud of him, too!! It sounds like a the fun & learning wasn't tempered by any losses, but just gives him & his team something to work on for next year, right? NOW, what lens will you rent THEN? The Bigma??? ;)