An interesting conversation began between The Surfer and I this past Saturday as we sat in the stands cheering our son (The Ace) on during his recreational arena soccer game. During this casual, hour long soccer game, we watched our son's team score goal after goal after goal finally producing a score of 13-2.
It happens, right? It's sad to see the defeated faces of the losing team, and we have definitely been there in the past, but it happens throughout all sports and we move on. But hold on, let me give you a little more insight and then you tell me if this kind of defeat really should, in fact, be happening.
As I mentioned above, The Ace plays on a rec arena soccer team for boys aged 10/11. This non-competitive game is perfect for our boy because he isn't a soccer guy. His sports of choice are football and baseball but because the kid is an athlete through and through, he needs to be moving and engaged in sport at all times. With the lull between football and baseball seasons he has chosen to play in this non-competitive arena soccer league. For shits and giggles, because he's cool like that. (If only I were so motivated.)
As luck would have it, he has been with the same coach and group for a couple of years in a row now. Remember, this is a NON-competitive league, so I don't believe there is a drafting process or much concern about assessing the kids abilities to keep the talent even. The point is for the boys to get out there and play some soccer.
Rumor has it that about 5 of the 10 kids on our team all play together in a competitive soccer league throughout the year. These guys are clearly, CLEARLY very good at what they do. You would be astonished watching these boys play together. I mean, it gets to the point where we stop cheering for our own goals because it's almost embarrassing the way our five guys dance around the other team. (The Ace NOT being one of them. He is a baseball/football guy, remember?)
Our heavily stacked team led The Surfer and I to wonder why, during this past debacle of a game. I mean, clearly the coach asked for certain boys on her team, probably suggesting she wanted to keep the boys together for extra practice while their competitive team takes a break. Makes sense. In theory. If the game remained fun for all involved.
But it's not. It's not for the team getting crushed. It kind of is for the other boys on our team being carried by Beckham and Pele. But is that a prideful kind of win? Maybe. Maybe not. I know my own son is happy about being on the winning team each year, but is his one goal this entire season enough to make him truly happy? Maybe. (Actually probably because he knows soccer is more of a challenge to master. He doesn't kick a ball in football or baseball, right?)
And really, is it still fun for these really good guys at this point? Are they really growing their game by being able to trample over opposing teams week after week? Or would it be more fun and challenging for them to be split up and placed on different teams? This way at least they are forced to rise to the occasion to try to win against one another. Or does this stifle them working as a team? Do they lose some dynamic between them if they play against one another during this rec season?
Clearly, this is why I don't coach. I have no damn clue. I do know it's kinda cool cheering on a winning team, but I do also know it's also lost some of it's luster. When you secretly hope the other team scores just to bring a little excitement? Isn't always great.
What do you think? Is it fair that our coach can snag her own guys? It IS a casual league where the final outcome really doesn't matter, so maybe I'm over thinking this? Am I crazy again? Wait, don't answer that last question. Just the first two.