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Inspirational Reads

Me = Robot Genius

October 5, 2006

Yeah, that's right. I stepped onto the field this evening as the interim head coach while Coach Doug was away in Michigan. I figured my goal was to make sure everyone played, no one had hurt feelings, and we'd try our best. I wanted to see if more people could score goals than our normal goal scorers.

After a scoreless first half, I decided enough of this and put forth our most potent offensive line out front and two of our soundest defenders on the field with a pretty good goalie. Sure, it's probably how we should have STARTED the game, but remember, back then I was in let's make sure everyone plays and has a good time. Nothing says good time like winning.

(As an upswing, the fourth quarter featured plenty of substitutions in which everyone on the team played...and I tried to teach our defense how to "stall").

My tactics payed off well.

We scored two goals in the third quarter and topped it off with another in the fourth. Then I packed the defense in around the goal and kept them out of the goalie box. I even almost had one of the boys who has never scored a goal before score. Almost. I think he was suprised that my robot genius mind had placed him in front of the goal so wide open, so he just kind of tried to quickly kick at the ball and it didn't go toward the net real hard and the opposing goalie scooped it up. I should add in here that she was really good.

So. There you have it. I'm 1-0 in my career as a head coach. Not bad for an interim who had never done it before.

Now, do you know what the worst part of coaching 5-6 year olds is? The coach is on the field and runs up and down the field with the team. All game. The only restriction is that you can't go in the 18-yard box. Which I forgot. Fortunately, the referee was very nice and didn't punish me or throw me out. Some jackass from the other team mouthed off about it. Which is why, even though they are only 5-6 years old, I didn't feel bad by trotting our version of the greatest show on turf.

Most importantly, the kids had a good time. All of the parents told me I did a good job. I hope that I also taught them a little something about spacing, since I know that two of the kids picked up on what I was trying to tell them about standing in front of the goal when everyone crowded around the ball in the box. I also tried to spread them out on corners and free kicks, to optimize our spacing on the field and confuse the opponent. And there was much less stealing the ball from your own teammate tonight. It was almost like we were a team. Which for 5 and 6 years olds, is a major accomplishment.

I'm awaiting that phone call from the United State Soccer Federation. Next stop for me: South Africa, 2010.