Thursday, March 29, 2007

Own Goalllllll!

Eli 5.7 made a triumphant soccer debut on Saturday, scoring four goals in his first league game.

Two for his team, two for the other team.

He was wearing bright red shoes and shin pads purchased at Pimp's Sporting Goods, I believe. I would have chosen equipment less, well, discotheque, but Eli was very pleased and seemed to think it sort of vaguely made him look like a superhero.

This is how a soccer league for five-year olds works. There are no practices during the week. There are no goalies. When the whistle sounds, ten kids immediately cluster closely around the ball like a rugby scrum, and this continues for the duration of the contest. It doesn't matter if the ball leaves the boundaries of the field, because all players will continue pursuing the ball--all the way to the parking lot, if necessary. Parents are assigned to stand at the edges of the field and kick the ball back into play--hopefully, before they get trampled.

No one keeps score. There are almost no rules.

In other words, lots of fun.

Five-year olds have a very selective memory, and sometimes that comes in handy. Eli came off the field after a five minute shift where he had scored an own goal and completely missed the ball several times while trying to kick it in the defensive end. He'd also gotten knocked down, but got right back up.

It was possibly the worst five minute shift in soccer history. It would have gotten him assassinated in Columbia. So what does he say? "Dad, did you see me get RIGHT BACK UP after I got knocked down?" He was beaming.

That's my boy. I don't care if he leads the league in own-goals as long as he has a good time.

Besides, he'll be following in the tradition of a family full of own-goal scorers.

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