Those who know the soccer routine at Legacy Park can sympathize with this moment:
You’re watching your 6-year-old play something that looks like soccer, the wind is whipping all around you, and then you lock eyes with your child, who has that slightly scared, definitely urgent look on her face.
Bathroom emergency. During the game, no less.
Fortunately for us, the restrooms are a short jog up the hill from the field where Addy’s team typically plays. But God did that jaunt seem to take forever.
Her return to the field was triumphant, to say the least. Addy maneuvered the ball past midfield, through two opponents and scored her first goal of the season.
Of course, at this level of youth soccer, we don’t keep score. Well, the league doesn’t. Ask Addy any score to any of her games, and she will recite it back. For whatever reason, she’s keeping track in her head. Maybe that’s good for the ol’ competitive spirit in her.
She despises losing and after each game, goes on a play-by-play tirade (in a cute, 6-year-old kind of way) of how every opponent goal was scored.
I don’t mind the lack of scorekeeping at this level. The girls are having fun, learning some basics and getting great tutoring on the field from their coaches and the referees, who all have a hand in making this early soccer experience a memorable and educational one for our kiddos.
I spotted a familiar face on one such ref, barbershop owner Nick Swearngin, earlier this month. Addy knows him, too, and spent the post-game chat discussing how she wanted him to referee every game. She really knows how to butter up the officials.
So, with my official designation as “soccer dad,” I will proudly encourage this habit for as long as Addy wants to play. I’ll take my spot on the windy sideline at Legacy, cheer way too loudly for Team Pink and, from time to time, tell Addy to clear out the ball and keep up her “little kicks” as she dribbles down field.
I guess all those years as a sports writer and sitting through way too much high school soccer may be paying off.
The biggest lesson so far, though, is that my daughter has a bit of a competitive streak. Oh, and she can navigate the field-to-restroom run in about 8 seconds flat.
Scheduling these massive number of games, organizing referees, taking time out for weekly practice and all that goes into a sport seemingly every youngster must play once in their lives is a job beyond my comprehension.
Bravo to those at the Lee’s Summit Soccer Association, all the coaches and the referees that make this Saturday ritual possible.
If you ever need an official scorekeeper, Addy has you covered, too.