Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Soccer in December

 It's December the third and I'm going to a soccer tournament. No, it is not indoor soccer. The temperature is supposed to reach 51 today so I'm hoping for little wind. It is a weekend tournament. Whether I go to tomorrows game will depend upon the success of todays'. The wife and I go to support the grandson, we both feel that it is important. Mom and Dad will be there too. A small family outing you might say. Now about tomorrow. If his team wins today and there is a possibility of them winning the tournament, we will go. Should today not turn out so well we will forego tomorrow. I know that sounds awful but the tournament is over an hours' drive from here. Mark will not be as concerned about us attending if they don't win. He wants you there for those moments of glory, not so much the inglorious ones. I think a lot of us are like that and I don't blame him a bit.
 The tournament consists of two games today and the final  tomorrow. The teams are from all over the tristate area of Maryland, Penn, and Delaware. The teams are matched solely by the age of the players. Some of these teams come from large population areas where players may be selected, shall we say, more discriminatingly.  Marks' team does not enjoy that luxury and so must play with what is available. Not that they are not competitive but the size of the talent pool is quite a bit less on the eastern shore of Maryland. Still the point of it all is the competition, and playing the game. It is good to be pushed by these other teams, to give incentive to play harder. It does no good to just have everyone win. In these tournaments there are no participation trophies or medals. You either win or lose. And that is how it should be. It is sometimes harder on us grandparents than it is the kids !
 Mark will be playing in the goal. The " keeper " as they call it.  He is supposed to direct the defense as well as protect that goal. It is a position of responsibility. It is also a position of great stress. You let one get by you and the team blames you. If you make a great save you get, " nice save " at best. You are either the hero or the goat, there really is no in-between. The keeper gets little credit for a win, unless he makes a game saving play that is. The keeper has no chance to score a goal. It can prove to be a very frustrating position. I am naturally proud of Mark for his willingness to accept that responsibly. I have seen him leave the field forlorn and dejected, and sometimes in triumph. I have watched him mature in his response as well. He has learned to accept the outcome with dignity. And that is just as important, if not more so, than playing the game. Yes trophies are fine sitting on the shelf and they are a reminder. The acquisition of those trophies should accompany the building of your character. It is far easier to smile and be gracious when accepting a trophy than when accepting defeat. Mark, being the keeper has felt that string more intensely than most. It was by his choice. That speaks to his character as much as any trophy ever will. Yup, I'm bragging.