In case you've been wondering, and frankly I can't imagine a scenario where you would be, I'm happy to report that the "Red Dragons" got into the win column this Fall. We didn't exactly light up the win column, but we battled to the end of the season and finished with 2 victories. Against 9 losses. Somehow some other coach got the league's coach of the year award. I will say, however, that those 2 victories were very glorious, no doubt about it. One of the games was a victory against the dread "Cookie Monsters," a team that had beaten us on two previous occasions. In what can only be described as the biggest sporting victory on American soil since the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team victory over the Russians at Lake Placid, we trounced the Cookie Monsters 2-0 in a game I may never forget for the way the Red Dragons battled, fought and got every ounce of ability out of themselves to defeat what had been up until that moment a superior opponent. (Of course, it helped that during the match one of our players sent the other team's best player to the hospital when, during a collision when both players were going for the ball, he landed with his size 9 cleat on the back of the other player's hand, crushing it.)
You can see here a photograph of our team in between a couple of our tournament losses on Saturday. We played three games, lost all three by a combined score of something like 15-3 ... but look at these kids. Smiles! They're having fun! Even while getting beaten to a pulp! I'm not sure whether that's because we just got done feeding them pizza and handing out trophies to them or whether they're smiling because they knew the season was, mercifully, almost over. Whatever the case, several of the parents and players asked me when it was all over if I was going to "coach" again in the Spring. They thought it would be good to keep the team together.
I wasn't sure how to answer that. Yeah, I had a great time and it was fun coaching the kids and they were a great group of kids, but it is a pretty big commitment. And there's probably someone out there who could actually teach these kids something about soccer. You know, maybe coach them up to at least 3 or 4 victories. We'll see. Maybe between now and the Spring season I'll pick up a few soccer strategies. Gain some insights. Understand the nuances of the game, such as the difference between "indirect" and "direct" kicks and "offsides." I'll just put this out there right now. Gloucester Parks and Recreation 9- to 11-year-olds watch out. The Red Dragons might be back. Be afraid. Be very afraid.