The Rigors Of Watching Youth Soccer
Friday - February 18, 2009
The leading causes of death for men my age are heart disease, cancer, accident and stroke. I’m thinking that a new category should be added: watching your 5-year-old’s soccer games.
All right, it might not kill me, but it’s already leading to out-of-body experiences. Every Saturday morning begins with a group of uniformed tykes running aimlessly on a field, encouraged by adults of varying degrees of soccer knowledge. It seems like every team has one child who understands that you need to run full speed and the rest lope along like casual observers. The speedy one scores the goals, but all are roundly congratulated. I’ve been asking my son Max if maybe running fast might be a good idea. I get back a puzzled look and response that he is running fast. Haven’t I been watching?
After being assigned black-and-white uniforms, the team members were instructed to come up with a team name. It was my son who suggested that they be called the “Zebras” because “We’re black-and-white and really fast.” After watching them, I’m inclined to say they should have been called the “Panda Bears” for the same reasons of color and because they seem to treat movement as an offense against inertia. But I finally saw Max sprinting (arms and legs pumping) like Usain Bolt chasing Olympic gold. Unfortunately, it was after the final whistle when one of the mothers yelled out, “Snacks over here!”
There are several reasons for the Rainbow Warrior basketball team’s continuous improvement, but one of them is the synergy in the backcourt. As Hiram Thompson has recovered from hamstring problems the chemistry with Koreem Nitoto has been exciting to watch. Nitoto had been pressed into service as a point guard, a new position for him, and until recently had struggled. Thompson, a true point guard, has taken the pressure off Nitoto and allowed him to concentrate on his on-ball defense as well as his scoring. Each player seems to make the other better.
It is reminiscent of another backcourt duo, maybe the best known in Hawaii basketball history: Anthony Carter and Alika Smith had the same penchant for bringing out the best in each other. It is like ballet on a basketball court when two players can anticipate the actions of the other. Add to that the increasingly confident play of talented wing player Rod Flemings and the development of Brandon Adams and Paul Campbell to complement Bill Amis in the frontcourt, and Hawaii has become a dangerous team that other WAC teams might want to avoid in the conference tournament.
I’m shocked that anybody was shocked with the recent outing of Alex Rodriguez for steroid use. With all that’s come out in the last couple of years, at some point you have to accept that the use of performance-enhancing drugs was rampant, and almost anyone could have fallen prey to temptation. With A-Rod, the annoying thing is the certainty that the apology and deep regrets are only after he’s caught. But the American sporting public is extremely forgiving, and A-Rod and his advisers took the best of the unpleasant options by getting his mea culpas in now.
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