Play Structures Fix All Things

Today will not go down in history as one of the most amazing games of U7 AYSO ever.

It was our first game of the season, and since we have an uneven number of teams in the league, we had a bye week – so we traveled to another nearby region to scrimmage their bye team, too.

We went to the wrong field, as did all the other parents, so we had about half the boys show up. They play by different rules (bigger goals, goalies, 5×5, instead of small goals, no keepers, 4×4). We were all late. No referee, first game of the season, and some emotional reactions to getting scored on by some bigger kids on the other side. And really no subs for our squad, which made for a pretty long 40 minutes.

First half was tough; second half was a lot better, and the boys really worked hard at getting better — the effort and focus showed; I was very proud of all of them. Some were a little discouraged at the end, but the snack and talking for a few minutes about what each of us did really well and the effort we gave helped a bunch.

But then everyone was off to the play structure and was happy. Best thing about traveling to a new region/school/playground is the novelty of their play structure.

Just a simple, Saturday morning reminder that lots of things don’t go like you want them to, lots of situations spin out of control from the start. But it’s all good if you get out and try your best, learn something, and get a little time with your friends on the play structure at the end.

Also, it’s a humbling thing to try to coach 10 6 year olds. Seems like such a small, constrained set of things to think about — not many kids on the field, not too much action at one time, no real strategy. But I’ll tell you: the games and practices seem to fly right by — it’s so much to pay attention to all happening at once — trying to nudge so many kids in the right direction, while they’re all learning so incredibly fast. It’s an amazing thing — always feels pretty chaotic, but also deeply rewarding.

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