Saturday, September 27, 2014

Controversy! Scandal! Soccer?

A little story to set the scene for our Soccer Saturday (okay, it's not really related to the actual plotline...but it's worth a laugh anyway...): When I went into Derek's and Riley's bedrooms today to open windows and usher in some fresh air, I was greeted with...let's just say "a not-so-pleasant odor". The best way I can describe it is, if some evil mad scientist took it upon himself to concentrate morning breath into a grenade-like device (which would be an incredibly potent and effective biological weapon, don't you think?) and then unleashed one in each of my sons' sleeping would be exactly like that. This led to a humorous discussion in which Derek confessed that, since they'd had a day off from school on Thursday, he hadn't felt it necessary to....apply deodorant that day. In his words, "Eh, I figured I wasn't going why bother?" (Because yeah, it's SUCH a hardship to swipe your underarm area a couple of times...lazy teenager...)

I dramatically pretended to be speechless with shock and horror at his hygiene offense...but in truth I hadn't even noticed any difference. However, he then took it even further, performing an exaggerated sniff of his own armpit (quite brave...also incredibly foolish...not to mention fraught with potentially dire consequences to one's health and well-being...) and then adding brightly, "I don't think I need any today, either!" In mock outrage I demanded, "Do you want people to actually enjoy--or at least tolerate--your presence today?" Without the merest whisper of a pause he shot back, "Well, I want my competitors to smell...the stench of defeat!" Nice one, go hit the anti-stink-stick before you show your face at the breakfast table...

The next thing that happened kicked off (ha! sorry...) the Intrigue of the Day. Husband got a message (which I read, since he never checks the home email) from the commissioner of Derek's soccer league, It was a heads-up to coaches, that before each game today, officials would be on hand to check player names against the published rosters, ensuring that everyone on the field had actually registered to participate. According to the statement, "some parents had raised concerns about all the kids being legitimate Rainbow players". Well! Let me tell you, this made for quite the titillating mealtime conversation, first thing on a weekend morning. We speculated as to who the non-rule-followers could be. We wondered why they would do it--what possible benefit could you derive from using unsanctioned players? Is it a Danny Almonte situation, where they're attempting to sneak older kids onto the team? Could it be a financial issue, where some families didn't have the resources to pay the league dues? But the real bottom line is: what the HECK are they thinking? Repeat after me: It's. Only. A. GAME. Not to mention, this is not exactly a World Cup qualifier, people; it's rec-level, for crying out loud! (Hello, "mountain"? I'm sorry to have to break this to you, but you're really more of a..."molehill"...)

But wait, it gets BETTER! (I know, right? How could it possibly get any more thrilling? Or maybe that's just me...and the coffee...) Derek's team (who by the way had precisely the players they were supposed more, no less) was supposed to be engaging in a rematch with their opponent from the first week--incidentally a team that had beaten them pretty soundly...while appearing as though they had already been playing together for...years, maybe?  (Just sayin'...) Riley and I arrived just as the whistle should have blown to signal the beginning of the contest...and we passed the "Team Whose Color Shall Not Be Named" striding the wrong direction, toward the parking lot rather than the pitch. I did one of those theatrical double-takes, following their backs as they walked away, my brain reeling with incomprehension. Finally I gave up trying to figure it out on my own and finished covering the distance to where Husband and his team were preparing for their match...maybe?

And then it was reported to me with gossipy glee that the warned-about roster check had revealed SIX undocumented players being presented by the Other Color Team for duty. The commissioner had informed their coach that the team could still play--but without the...ahem, "Illegal Half-Dozen". Instead of accepting this decree....he chose to leave. (So is that not an awesome example: cheating...AND poor sportsmanship. Well done, Leader of Today's Youth.) This of course also stranded Husband's players without anyone to challenge. Except...the coach whose team had just finished their game offered to stick around and play again with a group of kids cobbled together from, say, "anyone who's willing to keep running for a bit longer". Oh yeah, THERE'S the shining role model we were seeking. Nicely played, sir. Oh, and a couple of the kids from the disgraced team who actually were authorized Rainbow players--showing admirable character and maturity, in my opinion--returned after their coach had departed, to join the...what at this point amounted to a glorified scrimmage.

So, after all the hoo-ha, those that participated seemed to have a good time, practicing a fun sport on a gorgeous day in an atmosphere of camaraderie and fair play. Because hey, isn't that really what it's all about? And hopefully, this is the end of the nonsense...that is, unless we get another email informing us that we'll be required to bring birth certificates next week as proof of age...maybe I'd better dig Derek's out...just in case...

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