Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why We Do This, part 147

Andy and I are very particular about the sports we want our kids to play. We love tennis, running and swimming because they're aerobic (unlike golf) and because there are plenty of opportunities to compete at any age (unlike, say, lacrosse or field hockey). Soccer requirs too many people, plus a soccer pitch, which makes it impractical . . .

. . . unless you live here. Our critical mass of eight kids makes soccer . . . practical. Additionally, we have a real, regulation soccer pitch not a hundred yards from our front door, courtesy of our neighbors, who probably spent more than most people spend on their houses to take their relatively flat field, flatten it some more, and install official goals and boundary marks. And they're happy to let us use it, since their kids, one of whom is already in college, rarely play.

Now that the evenings have grown brighter and warmer, we're trying to get the kids up to the field to regularly practice their mad skillz. Or rather, we're trying to get Matty to take them up there. After all, he is European, which makes him perhaps not as naturally gifted as a Brazilian, but way more suited for the job than the rest of us Russian/Polish Jews in the house. At least he knows what a "corner arc" and a "dangerous play" are.

And so far, we're satisfied with Matty's coaching. He organizes a few casual drills for the older kids, and when the younger kids start rolling around in the grass or picking flowers, he grabs their attention by kicking a soccer ball as high in the air as he can, and letting them chase after it. I'm not sure what the technical purpose of this last part is, but it certainly makes Aaron, Gretchen and Ronan shriek in excitement, as the ball plummets out of the sky towards their heads. Maybe this is what's meant by a "dangerous play"?

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