Recent Posts

Recent Comments


Cop Land

« ObamaCare Vote Scheduled For Next Week | Main | Some Sunday Morning Fluff »

Getting Their Kicks

By Wyatt Earp | March 13, 2010

Kyle in goal. Only Jesus saves more.

Kyle’s indoor soccer season was supposed to wrap up on Thursday. If his team lost the game against Parkwood, they would be eliminated from playoff contention. They tied, 1-1. Last night, we found out that the tie was good enough to keep our chances alive. If Roxborough lost against Port Richmond at noon today, Kyle’s team was in . . . but the first playoff game was scheduled for 4pm today!

At about 1pm we got the call that Roxborough did indeed lose, and we were playing them in the first round. Roxborough beat Kyle’s team both times during the regular season, so I was not too confident about their chances. If they came out to play hard, they had a shot. If not, well, not.

I was able to make today’s game by going there right after work. Kyle’s coach drove him down and I met him there. Being the goalie, I was glad to see he was loose and in good spirits. He seemed ready to rumble. From the first tap, the game was a hard-fought affair. At about the middle of the first half, Kyle’s team scored to take a 1-0 lead. There was joy in Mudville.

The hard play continued. Kyle and the opposing goaltender faced lots of shots and each offense missed a few opportunities. Roxborough capitalized on a give-and-go in front of the net, and scored to tie it up. Kyle looked really pissed.

Not long after that, Roxborough scored again on a goal Kyle probably should have saved. He knew it, too, because he balled his fists and let out a quick yell. Roxborough was up 2-1. With about a minute left in the half, Kyle’s teammate Anthony took a shot from half-court that bounced past the stunned goaltender and into the net. At the half, it was all tied at 2 goals apiece.

In the second half, the teams ramped up their games. There was a lot of offense, strong defense, and physical play. Through it all, Kyle played very well, making saves from afar and up close. The half ended, still tied 2-2, and we were going into overtime . . . in the playoffs.

Now at this point, I was sweating and suffering through heart palpitations. When your oldest son is the goaltender in an overtime game, things get a little tense. While the team wouldn’t blame him, Kyle would blame himself if he let in the winning goal. After a five minute overtime, though, no one could get the ball into the net. Double OT.

I had been calling the wife after every break: halftime, end of regulation, first OT, and second OT. She seemed just as stressed out as I was with each phone call. I could only tell her what I was seeing – the team was playing great, and Kyle was making save after save. That continued in the second OT, where Kyle stopped a few shots – including one from point-blank range – and the period ended. We were going to a shootout.

I couldn’t take much more. I wanted to leave, or scream, or drink a tall glass of vodka. Whatever was available to calm my nerves. I called home again and was met with, “Oh my God. I’m glad I’m not there. I couldn’t take it.” Yeah, like I could.

As far as I could tell, they took all of the players (five in all) who were on the court at the end of the second OT and gave them the opportunity to start from center court, run in on the goalie, and shoot. The odds are not in the goalie’s favor in that situation, especially with short 9-year olds. Nevertheless, Kyle and the opposing goalie were up for it. They both defended the same net and waited for the shooters.

Kyle’s coach (Dave) tried to shout instructions to Kyle, but it was way too loud in the gym. He yelled over to me, saying, “Tell Kyle to come out of the net and challenge the shooter!” I said okay and made my way to the other side of the gym. Kyle’s team won the toss and decided to shoot first. I pulled Kyle aside, gave him his instructions, and simply said, “Play hard.”

The first kid from Kyle’s team came down, shot and hit the post. Kyle jumped in net and I could barely watch as he stoned Roxborough’s first kid. The game goes on . . .

Round 2: Kyle’s team hit a post. Roxborough hit a post.
Round 3: Kyle’s team missed. Roxborough’s shot was stopped by Kyle.
Round 4: Kyle’s team was stopped by the goalie. Roxborough missed.
Round 5: Kyle’s team was stopped . . .

After Kyle’s teammate hit the post, Kyle jumped into the net. The kid from Roxborough came down and when Kyle challenged him, he shot past Kyle for the goal. Kyle hit the post with an open palm, walked over to me and started crying. What do you say to that? I told him that the loss wasn’t his fault, and he played his best. It didn’t matter, because the waterworks still rolled down his cheeks. Kyle’s team was dejected and Roxborough celebrated a victory. Or so we thought.

A second or two later, the ref came over and told Kyle it was his turn. Round 6. I looked at him and wondered what the Hell he was talking about. I found out later that every kid gets a chance to shoot that was on the court when the game ended – including goaltenders. So, Kyle was up and faced this insane scenario:

Score and stay alive, or miss and be responsible for giving up the game-winning goal and missing the game-tying goal.

I would have thrown up from the pressure, but Kyle seemed okay. He took the ball at center court, sprinted in, and kicked the ball high . . .


I was screaming at the top of my lungs. He scored!!! He scored!!! The PSC Blue Kickers were still alive, tied 1-1. Roxborough couldn’t believe it. It was like in the first Rocky movie when Rocky gets up in the last round and Apollo Creed looks him like, “You have got the be frakkin’ kidding me.” Neither team wanted to lose.

Round 7. Jake, a really talented kid from Kyle’s team, was the first shooter off the bench. He went in, deked, and scored. Kyle’s team was ahead, and since Roxborough got the last shot, he was about to face the biggest shot of his life. Their best player – a long-haired, rocket-footed kid wearing #6 – came up. I said to Kyle, “It’s #6. He’s really good. Just challenge him and watch the ball.”

He set up in goal. The whistle blew. #6 came running in and Kyle ran out to meet him. As #4 shot the ball, Kyle got his body in front of it, knocking it to the side. Blue Kickers win!!!!!

Kyle ran out to his teammates, and the coach’s son picked him up in the air. Everyone crowded around him and celebrated. There wasn’t a dry eye in our stands, certainly not from me. Tears of joy came down my face and I was never more proud of him. He gave up what we thought was the deciding goal, and had the guts to go back out there, score, and stop a potential game-winner. Not a lot of 9-year olds could have handled that pressure.

Kyle’s coach brought the team in and talked to them. Kyle said that Coach Dave said they all played well, and they deserved this win. When he was done, Kyle came over and I hugged him. As we were walking out, I asked him why he didn’t look stressed during the shootout. He turned to me and said, “Dad, I was scared to death!” Dave came up to me and I told him about the goal he let up. Dave knew Kyle was crying, and when he asked Kyle about it, Kyle said, “I thought it was my fault we lost.”

Dave, a great coach and a better person, turned to him and said, “Are you kidding me? You stopped 5 out of 6 breakaways. That’s almost impossible to do in soccer, but you did it. You played awesome today.”

Dave was right. Kyle played awesome today, but so did the rest of the team. And even though some of his teammates were saying things like, “You’re the greatest goalie ever!” I told Kyle that he had a lot of help out there. He knows that, and hopefully, that fact will keep him grounded.

Tomorrow, Kyle’s team will play in the semifinals at 11am. I’ll post an update tomorrow afternoon.

UPDATE: Kyle’s team lost to very good Port Richmond team today by a score of 4-1.

Topics: The Boys | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Getting Their Kicks”

  1. RT Says:
    March 13th, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    WOW! I’m so happy for Kyle. :)

    To turn around from the feelings of crushing defeat to score and then block another shot is amazing! Just awesome!

    (Sounds like he has a great, down-to-earth coach, too.)

  2. richard mcenroe Says:
    March 13th, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Just remember, we’re Americans. None of that beer and cigar stuff.

  3. Andrew Says:
    March 13th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Kyle “The Walls of Jericho” Earp

  4. Wyatt Earp Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 8:47 am

    RT – He does. Dave is great. Last year during outdoor, Kyle had two goals and an assist while playing forward. I think yesterday’s game is still his best ever.

    Richard – Looks like Kyle is only concerned with soccer and lacrosse at this point. Not a big baseball or basketball kid.

    Andrew – He has been the starting goalie for two years now. This was his best game, in my opinion.

  5. Mrs. Crankipants Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Congratulations Kyle!

    I was a wreck just reading this post!
    What a good kid, you have a lot to be proud of.

  6. Wyatt Earp Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Mrs. Crankipants – I know it. As far as the stress, I could have used an EKG afterward.

  7. bob (either orr) Says:
    March 15th, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Applause for Kyle.
    Heart medication for Wyatt.

  8. Wyatt Earp Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Bob – Much appreciated!

  9. It’s Hockey Season! | Support Your Local Gunfighter Says:
    July 21st, 2010 at 6:47 am

    [...] overtime, they would go right to a shootout. My first thought was, “Sweet! Kyle in a shootout is like death and taxes!“ Both teams put up three players for the shootout, and Kyle walked back to his [...]