Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Seedy Tournament

We played our friendly scrimmage and, after having 3 goals scored against us in the first half, came back and scored 3 goals in the second to the opponents 1...progress...especially given that this was the first time we had 8v8. So we went into the tournament feeling good about our chances.

We came out of the tournament 3 and 3, the last game delayed for an hour by rain...and the boys looking sluggish and distracted. The league organizes teams into Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Red divisions in an attempt to group by skill. By all rights, we figured bronze maybe and red we went to the seeding meeting...what a farce!

Another team from our club, a new team with no record, was seeded 7 spots above us and they did not even play in the seeding tournament. Throughout the meeting the League President kept reminding everyone that these were 10 year olds and slotting wasn;t that important, that if the coaching salary really mattered he'd consider movement...of course the reality is that it DOES the boys, to the parents, and given the relative value of the metals involved in division descriptions, it would seem to matter to the league...I mean why not name the divisions Orange, Blue, Yellow or Grape!...and then, the League president proceeds to arbitrarily agree to move or to ignore requests from the some self-appointed UN chief, for whom it is the appearance of process that matters...for whom the ability to lecture the coaches about how silly they are for worrying about seeding...why have the meeting then? Because this is about the appearance enabling a civilized patina for what is the most base exercise of personal power...and a quest for cash (yes, the league gets $400 per team for the tournament...82 teams...$33,000 for one weekend!).

And so we are now seeded at the top of the red division...a team we beat 5-1 in the tournament is seeded above us in the bronze division...and the team from our club that did not even play in the tournament is in the silver division. We will play this season to earn our way into bronze...and we coaches will have learned another valuable lesson about how adults operate in the world of youth soccer.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

An unnatural act, futbol, isn't natural. At least not for boys. The game is supposed to be played with disciplined energy...with patience punctuated by explosions of energy and motion. 9-year-old boys, though, well they aren't realy about patience at I guess that's what us coaches are for. To get the kids to do something they wouldn;t otherwise be inclined to. That's the coaches theory anyway. The practicum demonstrates that what the kids really listen to is each other. There is an amazing amount of peer pressure that gets mvoed around the field as play begins. Not overtly critical, but someone calling for the ball and not getting it...then not delivering it when they do. Boys passing where they think they might get one back or where they think the recipient will be able to, well, receive it without error frankly. It's also interesting how even the players are picking out who the 'best' team mates are.

They think they will be playing for at least Silver division status in the seeding tournament. Me, I'm thinking bronze. We'll see Thursday what might be possible after our first friendly scrimmage!