One of the things I really liked about Brenden's soccer team in Lubbock, the Comets, was how supportive (and VOCAL) the parents were. In a close game, you could really count on hearing their voices rise and cheer and coax their boys on toward victory. When we were behind (which didn't happen often) and not playing well, you could count on each of those parents letting their boys know how they felt about it.
I was tough on those boys, tougher than I probably should have been for their age, but I wasn't mean by any stretch. I wanted each one of those boys to play beyond what they ever thought possible, and play that way every single minute they were at practice and at games. In short, I taught them to WANT it more than the other team. We had some good players for sure, but the Comets won because they were disciplined, in superb physical condition, and they wanted to win more than their opponent did. They knew how and when to dig down and play that much harder. I didn't allow any goofing off or screwing around in practice. Getting out of line, or horsing around led quickly to a round of "drop-downs," which is a form of kid-torture disguised as a conditioning drill where the boys had to run about 200 yards or so and drop to their chest with the blow of every whistle. I was a bit of a dril seargeant, but I just wanted them to be the best, and the parents had my back.
The reasoning was simple, the best players would always be the best, and I wanted the less talented ones to be better than the other kids simply by being tough, aggressive, and in shape. I'll never forget little Tyler. He was by far the littlest kid on the team every year, but he very quickly earned the nickname "Scrapper." He was little, but he was tenacious and tough, and he was every bit as good as some of the best players on other teams because the Comets wouldn't let him be anything less.
Now fast-forward to soccer in New Braunfels. You'd think you were at a tennis match! The parents sit on the sidelines and quietly applaud at appropriate times, with an occassional outburst of outrage if someone dared to touch another player. Unbelievable. I've never seen a more uninspired bunch of players and parents in all of my life, and it's a serious drag on Brenden. Brenden likes discipline and order, and there is neither in practice or in games. I was sitting in for the coach this weekend and, I swear, I had a kid tell me "no" when I asked him to do something. There was not a single Comet that would have DARED to tell me or any of my assistant coaches "no." We haven't won a single game this year, and the prospects aren't looking good. The Comets would have beaten any of the teams we've played 10-0, and that's no exaggeration. I'm seriously considering forming my own team next season, and fill it in with parents and players that feel the same way I do. I'd be thrilled to take a team full of misfits, castoffs, and blue-collar players that WANT to be better, and WANT to win.
And I bet we would.
Thanks for tolerating this little bit of ranting. Having a great week, and oh by the way, I've ran a total of 2.5 miles this weekend, so we're getting there.