The Soccer Tournament In Which We Never Lost A Game

Remember a couple of weeks ago, when we were still wrapped up in our soccer season?

Yeah… neither do I.

I have a hard time remembering anything anymore, except how to drive my Suburban to Starbucks and ask for a chai tea.

But… we DID play soccer, and we DID finish the season out, and we DID have a really fun time.  And I use the term we loosely, because I didn’t do anything even remotely related to running twelve miles on the soccer field and kicking the snot out of the ball and trying to elbow opponents while the refs weren’t looking.  I simply sat on the sidelines with my camera, and I did my level best to keep Thing 2 OUT OF the games.

(Our toddler wants to sue the local rec center for age discrimination.  He wants to speak to his attorney about how if he can run and keep up with the junior high kids, and how if he can kick the ball as well as they can, that he should be granted the permission to put his name on their roster and be given a lime green jersey.  Knowing our attorney like I do, what with her being our very good friend, Deb, and all, I’m pretty sure she’ll take Thing 2’s case clear to the Supreme Court, if she has to, and that he’ll be tying the laces on his cleats for the spring season, as he becomes a member of the junior high team.)

Anyway.

We finished the soccer season with a big tournament, and I’m telling you, our lime green team went undefeated in those tournament games!  We kicked and we scored goals and we ran like Dash Incredible, until the final whistle blew, and each time we managed to come out with a point or two more than our opponents did.  The lime green parents cheered and clapped like lunatics on the sidelines, because LOOK AT US GO!

IMG_0216 IMG_0217 IMG_0242 IMG_0253 IMG_0246 IMG_0263 IMG_0249 IMG_0252 IMG_0273 IMG_0274 IMG_0279 IMG_0257 IMG_0284 IMG_0280 IMG_0292 IMG_0296 IMG_0291 IMG_0313 IMG_0322 IMG_0323 IMG_0325 IMG_0328 IMG_0336 IMG_0339And… this next snapshot is for Sister and Katie C. and Katie H. and Libby and Melanie and all the other fun, FUH-UN girls who went with me last weekend to listen to Beth Moore speak, because BIRKAT KOHANIM!!

IMG_0287(I know that most of y’all don’t understand that, but we learned the Hebrew phrase for the blessing that the priests would give in Old Testament times.  They would hold their hands out, with their fingers splayed far apart, so that it would resemble sun rays shining down through clouds.  As they held those “sun ray” fingers out toward someone, they would speak their blessing upon them, which was Birkat Kohanim.)

(And yes.  I officially know ONE phrase in Hebrew now.)

(And yes.  All of that because the sun’s rays are shining through the clouds on the boy in that last snapshot up there.)

Our pastor came to watch the kids play in their soccer tournament, and he ended up hosting an impromptu game on the sidelines for the kids who weren’t old enough to wear the lime green jerseys.  Those kiddos had a BLAST.

IMG_0271 IMG_0228 IMG_0230 IMG_0231 IMG_0276After playing a little sidelines soccer himself, Thing 2 cheered his big brother on to victory during the tournament.

IMG_0204 IMG_0208 IMG_0210And then he and little Cousin H shared a package of trail mix.

The boy is allergic to peanuts and nuts, so it STILL freaks me out to see Thing 2 eat them.  I still want to grab peanuts away from him and shout, “Poison!” at the top of my lungs, but he doesn’t swell up like a tick when he eats them, so we’re golden.

IMG_0221After a little poisonous peanut snacking, Thing 2 tried to share Cousin H’s chair on the sidelines at the game.

She was very, VERY happy to have him there.

IMG_0224 IMG_0225 IMG_0226 IMG_0227 IMG_0302 IMG_0303 IMG_0305I think her exact words were, “Why can’t this boy sit somewhere else?  Why do all the adults in my life make me share this chair with him?  Why can’t I just have this chair and my peanuts all by myself?”

Sister’s Husband helped The Littles dump out their packaged trail mix so that they’d have an easier time getting to the M&Ms, because?  Really?  Isn’t trail mix just a package of chocolate-covered candies with ROADBLOCKS in the way?  Sister’s Husband also acted as referee, making sure that each one of The Littles got an equal number of M&Ms, and then he helped separate the raisins from the peanuts.  Cousin H gobbled up the raisins, which Thing 2 won’t touch for anything, and he ate the nuts, so… between them both… they ate ALL of the snack mix.

IMG_0237 IMG_0289 IMG_0290IMG_0343We ended up with a double-header in the soccer tournament that night.  After our first game, we switched fields and took on the purple team.

That’s Kellen’s team.

And?  If anyone remembers, Kellen’s team rocketed to victory over us a while back, by a score of zero to eight.  I know that’s more like a basketball score than anything, but sometimes devastation happens on the soccer field.  It’s a part of growing up… kind of like learning in the 1980s that if you gather up forty-six million aluminum soda cans to take in for recycling, you will NOT receive a check for $3,000, like you THOUGHT would happen.  Instead, you will receive a check for $6.  You will NOT be able to buy the expensive items that you had been dreaming about owning (like the white rollerskates with the purple pom-poms), through all of the hard work of collecting cans on the side of the road.  Instead, you will have just enough cash to buy yourself a single package of Shrinky Dinks.

Growing up is all about learning to cope with losses.

I never collected aluminum cans ever again, and I continued to rent the ugly brown skates with the neon-orange wheels for the rest of my skating career.

IMG_0349 IMG_0350 IMG_0356 IMG_0360 IMG_0363 IMG_0365 IMG_0366 IMG_0372This time, we beat Kellen’s team, 3 to 2.  It was one of those games that make you hold your breath and bite your fingernails down to stubs, because it was 2 to 2 for almost the entire game.  And then, with four minutes left, one of our lime greeners kicked another goal, by the hair on his chinny-chin-chin, and we HELD THEM with our defense.

But… we DID let Kellen score one of those two goals early in the game.  Here’s his kick, which put that ball smack into our goalie net:

IMG_0377 IMG_0378And here’s our little friends, Ben and Avery.  Ben and Avery NEVER try to run out onto the field and score goals themselves, like SOME KIDS do.

IMG_0381When the game was finished, we realized that we were all freezing, because it’s October in Small Town, USA, and the sun had set.  We needed heating pads and electric blankets, but LOW!  We had sailed through our soccer tournament as an undefeated team, so there was much rejoicing and celebrating at the end.  Coach Paul and Coach Tom wiped all the sweat from their foreheads, because grinding your teeth on the sidelines and not breathing while you wait for the last four minutes to go by, as you hold your 3 to 2 lead, is HARD WORK.

IMG_0398 IMG_0202And then the local rec center grilled hamburgers for all the players and their families.  I’m not sure that they were really prepared for the appetites of MANY 8th grade boys, AFTER they’ve just played soccer ALL!  NIGHT!  LONG!

Kellen’s mama and I cut our boys off after two cheeseburgers each, because LET YOUR FRIENDS HAVE ONE BEFORE THEY’RE ALL GONE!!  We’re all about instilling manners into our sons.

IMG_0399And then we brought the boy home, with the heat running on HIGH in the car, because it was a fall night, and Mama couldn’t really feel her fingers any longer.

When we got home, the boy had a bowl of cereal and a yogurt, because the two cheeseburgers were just hors d’oeuvres, apparently.

And… just like that… soccer was over for the year.

Y’all have a very merry weekend and a safe Halloween.

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