LuLu and The Boy played their final soccer games last night. While I’m glad to not be running to the Island three days a week for games and practices, watching Little League sports is just good for my soul. I think the leagues here do a good job of keeping the atmosphere one of fun and learning, rather than competition and frustration. To be sure, the kids know what the score is, but I have yet to see angry coaches or angry parents, and the kids have been good-natured even about getting kicked, tripped, and knocked over in their efforts to have a go at the ball. Many times I’ve heard a “Sorry! Are you okay?” between competitors, and it just makes me smile.
Mostly I enjoy the pure comedy of errors and kids being kids. In The Boy’s league, one tripped player usually leads to a cascade of three or four tripped players as they fall over each other and then try to avoid getting beaned in the head by kicking feet. I love how the kids clump together around the ball and how that clump moves up and down the field. I love when despite twisting their faces in fierce concentration, they still miss the ball. I love how the goalies get distracted, sit down, pick dandelions, pick their noses, and then may or may not get with it just in time to make the save.
In LuLu’s league, I love to watch the players try to strategize their positions and then dash madly off when the ball inevitably goes somewhere else. By that age, many of them willingly sacrifice their bodies in mighty saves, turfing it and sliding in the slick grass. Then they help each other up and high-five and run off for the next play. The teamwork they displayed was awesome.
Next week, tee-ball starts. Different game, different triumphs and errors, but the same sense of joy in the effort. I might complain about all the driving, but I do love supporting the players from the sidelines and hollering, “Way to go!”
Way to go, LuLu and my Boy! You made me proud.