Recent Posts

Recent Comments


Cop Land

« Weekend Caption Contest | Main | »

The 2007 Turkey Bowl

By Wyatt Earp | November 24, 2007

Kyle, as always, in front of the handshake line.

This year, when signing up Kyle for soccer, we decided to move him from our local athletic association (Bustleton Bengals) to Philadelphia Soccer Club. PSC is still pretty local, but most “soccer people” think that they are one of the best youth soccer organizations in the city. Kyle liked the new digs, and played well this past season.

Of course, being his father, I think he always plays well, so it’s nice to get an unbiased opinion to keep me on an even keel. His coach (above in the blue jacket) confirmed this at their final game of the season. He came up to me and said, “PSC is looking to get an all-star team to play in Parkwood’s Turkey Bowl: a three-day tournament at the end of November. Do you think Kyle would like to play?”

Naturally, I was flattered. Kyle’s team was pretty successful that year, and for him to be asked to play on this traveling team was an honor. I told the coach that I would ask Kyle, but if he agreed, we’d be there. He did, and PSC’s first game was last night.

The kids played under the lights, which would have been sweet if the lights gave of heat. The game time temperature was 35 degrees, and although I was freezing my arse off, I wanted to make sure Kyle was okay. Apparently playing goaltender warmed him up just fine. See, Kyle is usually a forward, and is responsible for scoring goals. While he likes playing defense from time to time, he rarely gets the chance to play goaltender. Tonight, his coach gave him his wish, and I don’t know who was more nervous: Kyle or me.

His opponents were from Huntingdon Valley Athletic Association, and most of these kids looked like the German National Team. They passed, scored, and hustled for every single ball. It looked as if they had been playing together for years. Kyle’s team has been playing together for two weeks.

Nevertheless, Kyle played fairly well in net. The first shot he faced went through, and I am convinced that he just wasn’t ready for it. I wanted to scream foul – I mean, I’m his Dad – and a parent yelled what was on my mind:

“It went in from the outside!”

Maybe I wasn’t being one of “those” parents. I asked a few of them, and they all agreed; it looked like the goal went in from the left outside goal post. The net was not attached there. It was no big deal, because it counted, and I don’t want to be one of “those” parents who yells at a ref – especially since the ref for Kyle’s game was a high school kid.

I came over to Kyle after the goal, and asked, “Are you okay?” He said, “Yeah,” but I knew he felt like he let the team down. He soon made up for that in spades. He kicked the next shot he faced safely to the outside. He dove after the one after that. It went wide, but he was getting his goalie legs rather quickly now. His best moment came soon thereafter.

A forward came in on a breakaway; just him against Kyle. The forward kicked the ball high toward Kyle, and Kyle came out and caught it dead center in his chest. The force of the kick pushed him past the goal line, but the ref declared it a save – probably because it looked like Kyle was hurt afterwards. He wasn’t, he told me later, he was just amazed that he caught it. After the save, our sideline erupted, and his friend Ryan came up and gave him a hug. It was one of a very few bright spots of the game.

After that save, Kyle’s coach put him on defense so as to let another player get some time in net, and although PSC hustled for the ball, HVAA was just too damned good. They won the match 10-0.

Not knowing what to say, I walked over, gave him a hug, and asked, “Are you okay?” He looked at me and said, “I was a little sad when it was 3-0, but I had fun. I can’t wait to play two games tomorrow!”

And that is the essence of Kyle. When he plays sports, he is always attentive, polite, and congratulatory when his teammates do something special. He likes attention as much as the next kid, but he won’t show up someone else to receive it. He always mentions when someone on his team or the opposition does something “bad,” and never emulates some of the nonsense you see on the field. I’d like to take credit for his good behavior on the field, but that’s all Mom.

I know he’s a very good soccer player, but he’s a better sportsman. And I’d rather have a better sportsman than a better athlete any day of the week. I love that boy.

UPDATE: The first team that shellacked Kyle’s squad was comprised of a few 8-year olds. Kyle’s team is made up of kids who are 6. They fared slightly better in today’s games, but lost both 2-1, and 6-0. Kyle still had a blast, though, and that’s really the point.

Topics: The Boys | Comments Off

Comments are closed.