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Grandma Diaries: What the heck is soccer??Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2011, at 6:35 PM
A very brave gentleman, whom I do not know, attempts to explain to a group of 5-year olds that they are to "play their positions"--and, no matter what--"Do not pick up the ball with your hands!" This was my grandson's first soccer practice--ever! Day one of a new adventure!
When my son Matthew was five years old, we signed him up for t-ball and faithfully took him to all the evening games, fighting off the mosquitoes and watching him stand in the outfield filling the holes in his old shoes with sand. Occasionally, he caught sight of a high-flying airplane and watched until it was over the horizon.
Last night I had a feeling of deja vue, as I watched another little blond-haired boy chasing a soccer ball across a large green field. Other teams of boys and girls were divided up, chasing similiar balls.
Same scenario--minus the sand.
The principle behind t-ball was simple--hit the ball and run the bases. Familiar.
Not so with soccer! I never did understand the game.
I remember when the Dexter School District imported a "REAL girl's p.e. teacher" to acquaint us with all the finer aspects of both indoor and outdoor sports. Ms. Mary McMahon was a breath of fresh air! No more girls' P.E. classes taught by Coach Lee, the boys' football coach! Yippee!
We played softball, dappled in gymnastic floor exercises (a real puzzle for most of us), and SOCCER!
We gathered under the trees at the near edge of the old football field, while Ms. M explained the game; however, no matter how clear the instructions, the game always deteriorated in this scene:
Phase 1: Large group of assorted girls gather in a huge chaotic circle, kicking each others' shins until someone connects with the ball--hurling it all the way down to the opposite end of the field (about 5 miles in those days).
Phase 2: All but the most wimpy girls run like bats outta hell after the ball.
Phase 3: A dozen or so girls reach the ball and proceed to kick it into each other, until the rest of the pack arrive to continue pummeling each others' shins unmercifully.
Phase 4: Someone once again kicks the ball hard enough to send it on its homeward journey back to the high school end of the field. At this point, the entire mob of girls charge back to the starting point as hard as they can run.
My soccer consultant has run off a sheet of terms for me entitled "Soccer Positions Made Easy."
As I understand it, my grandson was supposed to be playing "fullback" last night.
Yeah? Isn't the "fullback" very similar to the "outfielder" in t-ball??
I'm just glad I don't have to do the teaching!
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.