Friday, January 23, 2004

File Under "Victories, Moral"

So I help coach a women's soccer team here in town, and you'll be reading more about them as this blog continues. Anyway, last night we had our toughest test of the season, against the first-place team in our division (we're currently sitting third). To top it all off, we have a mounting injury list, and it looked like we were going to be short players.

Now, before I go any further, the coach of this first-place team is a known quantity to us, and we're not that fond of him. He's one of those coaches who thinks that his team's playing for the World Cup, and it's just not necessary at this level. He coached the all-star team for our division, and was really nasty to our representatives at the game, which just added fuel to the fire. Anyway, suffice it to say that we would very much have liked to beat his squad.

We didn't, not surprisingly. In the end we had 9 players, including our keeper (a fine player, and a fine person - on this page she is AKA My Friend From PG), which meant that there were a grand total of three subs available to us, while they had a full bench (Indoor Soccer in this town is played in basically the same formation as ice hockey). The other team ran out 3-0 winners in the end, but man, oh man. I have never seen a group of players work like ours did last night. They ran their asses off, to the point where we had players throwing up on the bench between shifts. They ran, and fought, and battled, and scrapped, and did everything they possibly could to stay in the game, and in the end I couldn't be more proud of them. Our reward? As we walked away at the end of the game, we heard, from the opposition dressing room, the dulcet sounds of their coach going absolutely balistic on his team for being held to three goal by nine players. It had to be one of the best nights of coaching I've ever had.

My favourite moment of the game? Well, one of their players went down hurt (no, that was not my favourite moment, I'm not that big an asshole), and while she was receiving treatment, our keeper strolled over to the opposition bench area to chat. She does this often, during stoppages of play, and I think it's a good idea; it keeps the games friendly and loose, for one thing. Well, their coach noticed her presence, and off he went, straightaway, to the ref to protest. Even though the ref wasn't having any of it, I called our keeper over to our bench area in order to defuse things, and we had a good chuckle about it... To be honest I felt a bit sorry for their players, and I wonder how many of them will stick with that coach through the years.

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