The day has finally arrived. After weeks of practicing and planning, and counting down of sleeps, tomorrow is finally the annual school 5-a-side soccer tournament.
It’s gonna be huge.
The school caters for kids from 4 months old until matric (last year of high school). Everyone from the age of 3 up gets assigned teams of 5 players. One parent from the team is asked to be the “coach” and then they are tasked with coming up with a team name, an outfit, and coordinating practicing in the weeks leading up to the day. It’s a compulsory event so 95% of the children, their parents, their grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, etc will be there.
My eldest has played the past two years, but after two whole years of waiting for her turn, it’s finally my youngest’s time to play!
The rules are fairly simple, at least for the little ones. Each game is about 10 minutes, and there is no half-time, they just choose one direction of play and that’s it for the whole game. There are about 4 teams per year, so in my girl’s case, there will be 3 matches, then a semi-final, then a final. Which is quite a lot considering they are only 3/4 and 5/6.
Let’s not kid ourselves though. No matter how much practicing they have done, on the day it is utter chaos.
Trying to corral 10 kids (aged 3/4 and 5/6) on one field for a 10 minute game, can be the LONGEST 10 minutes of your life. Seriously! Think ‘herding cats’ and you might have some idea of what happens on the day.
It makes no difference if you have practiced every day for the last two weeks, this is what will happen:
- tears – from at least 3 kids at a time per game.
- someone won’t want to play and will just sit down, this may or may not be on the field or in the goals.
- they will fight each other for the ball instead of working as a team – my youngest and her BFF had a full on fight on the field last year and didn’t talk to each other for about a week afterwards. They were on the same team.
- all 10 kids will attempt to kick the ball at the same time – cue more tears and a few bruises.
- the ball will go out-of-bounds and they will STILL run after it and onto the field next to them causing complete and utter mayhem.
- There will be MANY own goals as these kids have no clue about how to kick in the right direction – if they see a goal they will aim for it.
- Don’t forget the hand-ball – some kids don’t understand the concept of sharing and will actually just pick the ball up if they can’t win a tackle with their feet. Mine included.
I never realised it until that first game, but I am actually a real life soccer mom. If you read my blog you will know my feelings on competition – if not, check out my post: What Happened To Competition?
In case you think it’s just me, it’s not. Granted, not all the parents feel the same way as I do, but at least half of them, usually the ones you least suspect, will turn from perfectly well-behaved adults with excellent manners and quiet unassuming pleasantness, into screaming raving lunatics. They will be seen running up and down the sidelines, cheering their kids on, encouraging them, shouting instructions and yes, even jumping onto the field to ‘help the kids’. It is unfortunately inevitable, but some parents may even end up in tears too. It’s not something we’re proud of.
The highlight of the first year was the point when my husband and a couple of other dads actually couldn’t take it anymore, picked up their respective kids and used the kids as some kind of hockey stick to kick the ball in the right direction! It was a good idea at the time but thinking back it may have been a low point in parenting maturity.
My youngest’s team has something like 8 kids in it because there weren’t enough for 2 full teams of 5 so they ended up making one team. Not to brag, but she’s a feisty one who has sat on the side-lines long enough now and wants to kick some butt tomorrow. She is in the Zebra class so their team name is the VuVuZebras. (Yes, it was my idea *bragging*) There will be multi-coloured Zebra manes and cheerleader pom-poms, and even a VuVuZela – I’m sure everyone will hate me by the end of the first half hour.
My eldest only has 4 in her team because one of the kids dropped out and there aren’t any more in her age group to make up 5. I’m tempted to put my youngest in there if she’s sitting any of her games out – she’s a great goal-keeper. Their team are called the ‘Pink Girls’ – so much tough pinkness it’s not even funny. Their coach this year is a former Free State Junior coach so they have had some excellent coaching and even though there are only 4 of them, I really hope this year is the year her team wins. They have come second the past two years.
As for me – I am going to be seriously worn out trying to cheer on both girls who, I have no doubt, will be playing at least one match at the same time on opposite ends of the school grounds!
Don’t worry girls, mommy will be fired up and ready to be the best soccer-mom I can be!
Wish us luck and check back on Monday for a full recap of the weekend events!
The Tale of Mummyhood