The mid-fielder is adjusting a pair of shorts that hang to his ankles. The right defender is practicing his cartwheels and improving with each attempt. The left defender is wearing a tutu. The goal keeper is using the net to support herself as she talks with some kids walking past the field behind her goal.
This isn’t halftime or pregame of the Little League Soccer match I took in on Wednesday night. This all happened while the ball was in play.
Blue took on Orange in front of 70-or-so raucous fans on a shady field in Lockport. A patient Blue coach assembled his team for a goal kick shouting, “Kick it away from the goal. Kick it over there. Kick it to Emily. Just kick the ball to Emily!”
Despite an audible game plan stating exactly where the ball was heading, Team Orange reacted to the goal kick like a 3 a.m. telephone call. Shin guards were everywhere. The ball is about 7 inches in diameter, and yet every child on the field was kicking it at once.
The Orange coach shouted direction to a girl named ‘Mia’ and the Blue goalkeeper proclaimed, “I used to have a dog named ‘Mia’.”
The exciting climax of the match happened right after a Blue forward gave up possession of the ball during a deke attempt. He set up the ball in front of the Orange defenders and then spun around in a circle. He just stood behind the ball and spun. The Orange defense wasn’t fooled. They kicked the ball to send an Orange forward on a breakaway.
The crowd leans forward. The hum jumps 20 decibels. Team Blue scampers to get back and defend their goal. Off to the right of the Orange goal, that one kid does another set of cartwheels.
As the Orange forward moves in on net, I notice that one of the Blue defenders is now holding a stick. He’s running along with the Orange forward with his stick raised in the air. They clash in the crease. The rest of the kids catch up and everyone is kicking at the ball. The Blue defender reaches down and gives the ball a couple of whacks with his stick. The Blue keeper jumps down and gains possession. The crowd roars.
No one was hurt. A parent ran out during the goal kick to retrieve the stick from the Blue defense. I would have helped but I was doubled over in laughter. It’s the most entertaining sporting event I’ve ever seen. The best ticket in town is Soccer played by 6-year olds.
My nephew, Luke, had a solid game despite a stomach ache. He probably had a stomach ache because I took him out for pizza 90 minutes before he was to play Soccer and challenged him to a Chicken Wing Eating contest, during which time I taunted and goaded him into eating a total of 8 wings. I’m a horrible person.