Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Soccer camp
Fynn scores a penalty shot against his friend Fabian

Admittedly, it's been years - decades - since I took part in soccer camp, but visiting Fynn's camp last week brought back certain memories. First there were those from the days as a player at Culver, where we woke up to The Knack's "My Sharona" and Supertramp's "Breakfast in America". Then the memories of coaching at Benedictine High School returned, where we practiced at Byrd Park between the goose pond and the tennis courts. But one important thing was missing: the smell of grass.
The artificial turf was probably great to play on, especially after a rain or when it was really hot, and playing on an even field must be quite a nice feeling! But the olfactory sense was left out of the whole experience.

Fynn usually plays in goal at school. He likes the short-term challenge and perhaps the rush of adrenaline that goes along with being a goalie. The fact that he doesn't have to run as much and that he can tell us about the brilliant saves he made also factor into his decision.
However, when I was there, I saw that they needed not only someone with athletic prowess (they had a couple of big boys on their team) but also someone who could think and respond to the movement of the ball. My old coach, Mr. Chadwick, would always yell out at us in his British accent, "Who wants the ball!?"
So I was standing there on the sidelines taking pictures. No coach was telling them how to play because this was the final day (Fynn's birthday, by the way) and they were playing a little tournament. I saw Fynn standing in goal, but I wanted to see him play. I called him out of the goal and then coached him from the sidelines. He did very well.

And he realized that he also has a chance playing against the other boys his age.
It gave him a good feeling.
When the tournament was over, they played "Penalty Kick King" and he got back in goal. So did his friend Fabian.
They each scored goals against each other.
But neither one took it so seriously that they got upset. I saw some kids getting impatient with younger or smaller players on their team who didn't seem to be able to pull their own weight, but no one cried that whole afternoon, something that surprises me when I think about it now.
By the way, the penalty kick king ended up being a queen, one of two girls participating at the camp!

At the end of the three-day event, each participant received a certificate and a medal (sponsored by McDonald's) - as well as a high five from each of the coaches.

Fynn's group had two half-Americans in it. Can you find the other one?
I realized that this was the first time I had ever photographed a soccer game. I had always either played or coached, two experiences that helped me with my timing and placement when taking these pictures.
When I showed up with my camera the first day, they asked me to take their group picture. Can you find Fynn and the two girls?

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