The Fighting Orange Tigers Snarl Their Way To Victory

I think that I may have mentioned once, or even nineteen times, that Thing 2 is a mover and a shaker, so I doubt that it comes as any surprise to y’all that watching him play soccer is pretty much a kick.

(I know, I know.  It was a solid pun.)

Our preschooler has already asked if he can move to Spain, where they take THE FUTBOL a little more seriously, with practices that are a little more rigorous.  He can’t understand why the mom who volunteers to coach the Fighting Orange Tigers doesn’t have the team in the weight room, LIFTING, at 5:00 in the mornings.

He also doesn’t understand why no one is fueling up with protein shakes before games, like he is.

What I don’t understand is why we are having a soccer season in the hottest part of the year here in Small Town.  There is really nothing that can compare to sitting on metal bleachers when it’s 99 degrees outside, cheering for the Fighting Orange Tigers, while sweat trickles into places it shouldn’t trickle.

This last week, we played Gavin’s team.  Besides being just as handsome as a kid can be, Gavin is one of Thing 2’s good buddies; we adore Gavin and his family.  Plus, that llittle fellow goes to the school where I teach, so I get to have him twice a week for Pre-K PE.  This is all well and good, until I realized during our game that Gavin seriously learned some crazy-mad soccer skills during our soccer unit this spring in gym class…

… and then he used those skills to score a goal against the Fighting Orange Tigers on Thursday evening.

IMG_0348I guess this fall, I’ll have to work at teaching Gavin’s kindergarten class how to pick dandelions during soccer games, as I emphasize JUST HOW IMPORTANT IT IS to keep our soccer fields weed-free.

The Fighting Orange Tigers brought their varsity game to the field this time around, and won by a score of something like 14 to 2.  It’s because we have a secret weapon named THE LITTLE GIRL IN THE BLONDE BRAIDS.

Seriously.

She’s a soccer rock star, and she scored TWELVE GOALS, BY HERSELF last Thursday evening.

Yes.  That’s right.  She’s five, and she likes to kick and stretch.  And then BOOM!  Her kicks end up in the net.

She’s also very good at letting Thing 2 know when he heads for THE OTHER TEAM’S NET on a breakaway, because Thing 2’s motto is, “Run the ball fast and hard, straight for whichever net is closest.”

I feel like I should add an AMEN right there.

The Fighting Orange Tigers took the field and evaluated their opponents before the ref blew the starting whistle.

See that kid standing over there?  Yeah… that’s Gavin.  We’re going to have to double-team him.  He’s going to be our primary threat, because my mom helped him amp up his game in PE.  I hear he’s real good, and that he’s looking at a soccer scholarship at  Duke.”

IMG_0336Gavin seemed unaware that he was being labeled as THE ONE WE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT, BECAUSE THAT KID CAN SCORE GOALS.

He was just busy on HIS END of the field, wondering if they could pull their goalie, trade him for another offensive player on the field, and then put every white-shirted player they had in front of THE LITTLE GIRL IN THE BLONDE BRAIDS.

IMG_0366In the end, it really didn’t matter how Gavin’s team prepped themselves to play defense against that little pumpkin.  We were just glad she was wearing an ORANGE jersey, because she slammed twelve balls into the net before the final whistle blew.

IMG_0370IMG_0371 IMG_0329 IMG_0331 IMG_0332 IMG_0344 IMG_0349 IMG_0348Sometimes Thing 2 gets excited about stuff.

Hey, Ma!  This boy on my team said that his mom brought Rice Krispie treats for snacks after the game!  And he said they have SPRINKLES on them, Ma!

IMG_0338We may have also been warned by the referee that pushing in soccer earns red cards.

We may have also earned a red card.

Except, at this level, I think they call it, “Sit out for two minutes and think about how pushing does not incite feelings of rainbows and love and pretty glitter in the hearts of others.”

IMG_0339 IMG_0377And this next shot?

Well… LOOK!  Look at how the momentum of the fall is puffing Thing 2’s cheeks full of air, and how his eyes have the crazed look in them that says, “I will rise from this fall and come back stronger than ever!”

IMG_0342Thing 2 worked to get himself a couple of different breakaways in the game…

IMG_0378 IMG_0379 IMG_0380 IMG_0381 IMG_0382 IMG_0383… which he kicked straight out of bounds.

IMG_0353 IMG_0360 IMG_0354 IMG_0363 IMG_0367IMG_0395 IMG_0397 IMG_0400 IMG_0404 IMG_0411He may also have cut the little girl in the blonde braids off once, and swiped the ball away from her, because… seriously!

Twelve goals in one game is enough for anyone.

IMG_0402I think she simply shrugged, smiled, and said, “I could’ve made it 15 to 2, if you hadn’t stolen the ball away from ONE OF YOUR OWN TEAMMATES, ya Punk!”

In the end, the game was a ton of fun, and it’s not just because we were the team who got to draft the little girl with the blonde braids.  Without her, we would’ve tied, two to two.  I think the National Women’s Soccer League had scouts sweating on the metal bleachers, watching her.  Don’t be surprised if you see her in the Olympics next month.  I heard she’s going to be a walk-on.

Thing 2 will be a bit disappointed, because he’s fairly certain the Olympic coaches require weight lifting at 5 AM, like he’s been pushing for in the Pre-K Rec League.

Y’all have a good Tuesday evening.

 

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