Last weekend was Mason’s first game as a member of the Yukon Hotshots. The game took place in El Reno at 1pm. It was 29 degrees, but the brisk north wind made it feel colder than that.
The Hotshots formed approximately two weeks before the team’s first game. That gave the team’s five six-year-olds four practice sessions — unfortunately, two of the them were cancelled, due to weather. That meant prior to our first games, the kid had spent exactly two hours learning how to play soccer.
Mason’s soccer league consists of kids between the ages of six and eight. Mason’s team consists of five six-year-olds. Our first opponents, the Cougers, consisted of at least eight kids, all ages seven or eight. Before the game, Mason’s biggest concern was that his shoes were going to come off. “Tie them real tight, dad,” he said. As the kids lined up for the game to begin, the coach of the Cougers began yelling out plays. “TRIANGLE FORMATION,” he yelled, while making the shape of a triangle with his hands.
I don’t know if there’s a name for that moment in time in which a person realizes things are about to go very bad, but this was that moment. Their coach is calling offensive plays, and our kids’ biggest concern is that their shoes are going to fly off. This did not bode well.
Within five minutes we were down 0-2 — which is pretty amazing in the fact that they had only scored twice. The Cougers were crafty veterans, running down the ball, passing, and rushing toward the goal. Our kids were tired, complaining about the cold, and fairly good at stealing the ball from their own teammates.
Mason’s biggest problem is, he’s too nice. When kids would all run toward the ball he would step back, as if to say, “here you go!” During one of these moments, the ball popped out of the pocket, and landed at Mason’s feet. “RUN!” we shouted, and he did, chasing the ball downfield with seven other kids chasing after him. When he got to the goal he shot, and SCORED! All the parents on our side were cheering his name. Immediately after scoring, Mason ran off the field to give Susan a hug. And while it was cute, this was no time for hugging — there was a game to be played! “GET BACK OUT THERE, MASON!” the other parents cried, and so he did.
By the end of the game, Mason had scored three goals. That’s the good news. The bad news is, he was the only member of the team to score. The worse news is, the other team scored somewhere around 10 points or so. At one point we got unofficially run-ruled, and were allowed an extra player on the field. Things got so bad that the Cougers began kicking the ball away from the goal, to quit running up the score. Appreciated, but embarassing.
In the end though, it was only the parents and not the kids who cared about the score. Mason had a great time playing, and didn’t realize until after I told him that his team had lost the game. He didn’t care about the final score at all. He was just glad to get to play and was excited that he had scored. Mason had a blast playing, and that’s all that mattered.
He also spent plenty of the time talking with girls. What can I say … he’s his daddy’s boy.