Clearfield, Utah -- The Clearfield Blue Dolphins had their first game yesterday with their rookie coach. By Saturday morning at 10 am there was nothing left to do but play the game. Hours of game tape had been analyzed, weaknesses assessed, and strategies developed and rehearsed. Uniforms and schedules had been delivered Tuesday night and post-game snacks purchased. Grape Capri Suns had been chilled and transported to the field. It was show time.
The Dolphins are a rag-tag gang of five- and six-year-old soccer stars who arrived on the field with ribbons in their hair and the sweet nectar of competition coursing through their veins. Two of them are in their rookie season.
Hannah was shy and had a hard time leaving her mom. The other Dolphins had to be sent over to coax her out on the field.
Alexis (Lexy), also in her first year, was quiet and resolute. Very obedient and willing to do what was asked.
The other three played together last season. They had nerves of steel. There wasn't anything in the Clearfield Commission U-6 AYSO soccer league these wiley competitors hadn't seen before.
Isabelle (Belle) quieted the Purple Princess crowd 5 seconds into the game when she drove down the field and punched it in. Then she added another. (Moments later the Purple Princesses coach caught site of the earings Belle was wearing. That little showboat must have been trying to slide the bling past them all--probably knowingly--against league rules. Lucky they let her off with a warning. Next time she's sure to get carded.)
Rozlyn (Roz) added a couple more to the score. Coaxed on by her exhuberant dad, she celebrated with a handstand at midfield. Nearly cost them an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
First quarter ended 4-0.
The Purple Princesses snuck one by to start the second. Momentary lapse in concentration by the Dolphins. During the post-game interview, the coach took full responsibility of what he termed, "a lack of coaching preparation". He added, "it won't happen again".
Tayler (Tay) dashed the Purple Princesses new found hopes by nailing in three goals in the second.
Roz and Belle punished them in the third quarter and Tay and Roz finished them off in the fourth. Even the rookie Hannah finished a breakaway with a shot that narrowly missed (wide right). She also bounced back from a shoulder contusion that required a spur of the moment substitution and a little TLC from mom. Her teammates rallied around her. It was clear the overly aggressive Roz was sent in to punish the other team for knocking her new friend to the ground (she also appeared slightly annoyed to have to enter the game during her rest--and snack--period. But she reluctantly entered the game chewing a mouth full of cheddar cheese fish. Moments later she was begging for a drink.)
The rookie coach had a hard time calling off the dogs. He would send them back to play defense, but they would soon forget (or get bored) and take the ball down and score. It was difficult to hold back these fierce competitors without breaking their spirits. There was purple blood in the water and the dolphins could taste it. They had quite a day.
There was no Gatorade on the sideline, so someone (probably Jess) annoyingly shot the coach with a stream from a water bottle as the final whistle blew.
Final score was anywhere from 10, 11 (or maybe even 12) to 1.
Photo 1: The fire in their eyes was evident during the pre-game practice.
Photo 2: This little dolphin had a hard time following instructions from her new "soccer teacher", but ended up making her coach very proud in the end.
Post-game wrap up: Jess made me toss my twenty-year old pillow (see yesterday's post). Didn't sleep so well last night (might have had something to do with the dust mite nightmares). Hope it gets better from here. Also, Rylee informed her dad this morning that she will soon be big enough to play soccer and then her dad will be her coach "just like for Tayler". Oh dear. Look what we've started.