Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Soccer, It's Overwhelming

It's been quite a weekend. The annual SISCO indoor soccer tournament ran this weekend, and since I coach two teams (Brennan's Aurora Jets, Aidan's Aurora Apollo), I had to do double duty over the past few days. The craziness actually started with a non-tournament game on Thursday night, one that I didn't have to coach. Brennan, who is 9 and plays in a U12 Division 3 league, was called up for a Div 2 game for a team that was missing some players. They rode him like a horse, I have to say, and he really proved his worth for them. They had him on defense and gave him very few breaks; pretty much as soon as he was on the bench they were ready to send him back out. And when the game was over they approached us and asked if he would be willing to join the team for an out of town tournament at the end of January. Of course he's interested.

Anyhow, on to the tournament this weekend. On Friday Brennan's Jets played at 4:45pm, and then Aidan's Apollo at 6pm. Jets won 1-0, Apollo lost 5-2. Next morning, the Jets played at 8am and the Apollo at 8:30, so my assistants for Apollo had to run things for the first half, since my assistant for the Jets was out of town. Jets tied 1-1, Apollo won 2-1. Jets played again at 1pm, and lost 3-1. Apollo was on at 2pm (and I had to run over, but made it for the start of the game - lucky this was all in one facility) and won that one running away, 9-2. The first half of that game we scored in the opening ten seconds, and then Aidan kept us in the game, making save after save until the boys found their groove. It was 3-0 after the half, and we opened it up in the second. And then there was one more game that day, the Jets on at 6pm, where they played to a 0-0 tie.

10:30 that night I finally found out that the Jets had made it to the semi-finals, something that I already knew that Apollo had managed. And so the next morning we were there for the Apollo game, at the ridiculous hour of 7am. Frustratingly, the team we played had speed to burn, and for the first 15 minutes they rolled past us with ease, and soon it was 4-1 for them. We fought back, though, and I'm proud to say it was soon 4-4. But then two defensive lapses resulted in two goals for them, and on the flip side we missed what looked like two no-brainer goals. But still, I was very proud of the boys for fighting back and making a game of it.

The Jets were a little less lucky. The team they played in the semi was the team that beat them in the round robin, and they put the boots to us. In fact, the opening goal was scored after less than 20 seconds. We were tentative and scared of the ball, and it was obvious that three of the boys were sick (one had been puking the night before), and we were also missing one who'd been sick all weekend. Before we knew it we were down 4-0 (the last on a penalty shot), before Brennan scored a goal only seconds later, but we couldn't muster much more, and you could just see those poor kids' shoulders slumping in defeat and exhaustion, as the game finished with us on the very wrong end, 8-2.

Still, I'm proud of all of those boys. It's not the same Jets team that started the season with a 13-0 win, so we need to find them again, but everyone fought hard this weekend, and I can't fault a bunch of kids between 9 and 11 for coming out of such a long and difficult weekend with little or no energy left. Good for the Jets, and good for Apollo.

We are, needless to say, all exhausted.

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