I have been really fighting fatigue this week. I would have liked to do a somewhat thorough media analysis, but, I just didn’t get there. Instead I’m going to tell you a story. It’s another true story. I have tons of them. Probably just keep sharing them when I’m too exhausted to come up with something clever about college football or the issues around it.
As a plus, you need a break from all this protesting the flag, freedom of speech stuff anyway, don’t you?
Here we go...
I coached youth soccer for a decade. It was just a rec league, but as you know, kids are still competitive and the older the ones that are more competitive tend to separate themselves even more from the others.
Kids develop at uneven levels. Some may be way more coordinated than others at age seven. Some will catch up later. Some, like myself, will stay uncoordinated for their entire lives. After a couple years of experience I learned that an easy way to find out who was ahead in terms of coordination was to have the kids do ball taps. It’s a relatively simple drill, but it can tell you a lot. Rather than me explaining, here’s an advanced example of the drill I’m talking about:
One year... I’d say the boys were around 10 or 11 years old, I have a kid show up, and he can barely move his feet. It’s not like he can’t walk, but he can’t do the ball taps at all, and he really couldn’t even kick a ball. He has zero coordination. Zero.
I notice that the man who brings him video tapes me when we’re doing practice. Nobody’s ever done that before. It kind of bothers me, because I’m certainly not a licensed soccer coach and it’s not like I’m an expert. It is also an excuse to ask him about the boy so I do that.
Notice that I don’t say “ask him about his son”, because I have a strong feeling that this boy is not his son. I’m sure he’s not his stepfather either. So I ask about the videotaping, and his relationship, and why this kid can’t move his legs very well.
The guy says, “No, I’m not his father. Nobody knows where his father is. I am his Big Brother (from the organization). His mother has never gotten him involved in anything. She works full time to support them, while the boy stays at home alone and sits around playing video games, so I got him enrolled in soccer. I bought him a ball and tape these practices to show his mother so he’ll do this at home.”
I now have a clearer understanding of what I’m dealing with.
The boy works hard at practices. He plays hard in games. One day at practice, I notice two of our better players making fun of him. I catch them making jokes about how he can’t kick a ball, although the kid is improving quickly.
I look at one of them, one of our more competitive players and I say “How many goals did you score yesterday?” We scored zero goals in our last game. His response is to look at his shoes. I tell them I don’t want them making fun of someone on their own team, that everyone has different circumstances to deal with, and that, in fact, that kid is working a helluva lot harder than they are.
At the end of the soccer year, our club has a tournament. It’s not for a big prize, it’s just like a big get together. Our team is ready, we play reasonably well, but during a break in a game, I notice that the uncoordinated kid has a can of pop. I take it from him, and I throw it on the ground and tell him he can’t drink pop during soccer or it will make him sick. I tell him I’ll buy him another one after the game is over. I instruct our players to share their water with him because he hasn’t brought any. They quickly do so.
Something has changed. I look around for his Big Brother. He’s not there. There is a different guy who’s now glaring at me because I threw the kid’s pop on the ground.
After the game is over, we do our season wrap up, and during that time I point out how much the one kid has improved. The other boys all slap him on the back, and yell his name. He is a now a part of something.
Everyone departs. I ask his new Big Brother what’s going on. He explains the other guy had to move, so he’s the new Big Brother. He doesn’t look very sports-oriented.
A year comes and goes. The next year of soccer starts. Teams come together. Coaches say hello again. I looked throughout the teams for the uncoordinated kid. He’s not there.
I never saw him again.
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Then There's This
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