My girls are awesome in their element. When I played sports, I had an element, too. It was called the bench.
My girls don’t spend too much time in my element.
Ask my parents. Hey, there’s my boy. Him, the one with the bat in his hand. No, not at the plate. No, not on deck. He’s the one balancing a Gatorade cup on the end of his bat.
I could hope for junk time, though. There’s always hope for junk time.
My girls are the type who spend junk time in my element. On the bench.
They do have time in which they teach me. And I’m forever grateful.
Grace – U11 drug test
You can’t serve as an acolyte at church when you’re a kid with a fever. When you still have that fever the next morning, you can’t go to school. When you have a soccer match on a Monday night, you shouldn’t play.
Unless you’re a scoring threat who can feel better after a little Ibuprofen.
Grace’s team, the Dynamite, had a big-time match against the Red Dragons – top of our league, unbeaten, hardly ever scored upon. They’re like the red army of Russia in Harrisburg soccer.
Are you kidding?
Playing in prime time under the lights? A chance to slay the Red Dragons?
You can’t miss that. Even if you’re a kid with a fever.
Grace knew Ibuprofen made her almost forget about the fever on Sunday, and that she could probably play, if only she could have one little pill.
“Is it illegal, dad?”
“Is what illegal, honey?”
“If I take medicine and play. Won’t I get in trouble? Because, isn’t that what happened with Lance Armstrong?”
After I described the difference between taking a fever reducer for youth soccer and what blood doping was, I felt kind of proud.
Yeah, she wanted to take down the Red Dragons. But she wanted to be legit.
Marie – the kid you didn’t draft
Yes, they draft in youth soccer. With skills assessments and everything. Like, a little combine, for soccer. They don’t, however, measure and weigh the kids.
My girls did fine in their 25-point assessment – well enough to rank highly on the draft board. Coaches’ kids automatically go to their teams, so there’s no draft for them. I’m head coach for Grace’s team, an assistant for Elise’s, so those kids got automatically placed on those rosters.
Marie, however, had to go through the draft. Gaudy numbers, though, did her no good.
Coaches who didn’t know her didn’t believe the hype.
She dropped. One round, then two. Every coach at that age passed her over. Until one didn’t.
“She stayed on the board so long,” said Krystal, whose team I joined after the draft as an assistant coach.
“But I figured, hey, she’s Latina. She has to be good.”
Good move for la gente.
Marie’s team, the Muleicorns, are unbeaten, and that Latina? She’s a scoring and assist machine, terrorizing the midfield with tough defense, deft passing and unforgettable dribbling skills.
Who is that kid? They’ll ask. Who made that pass?
That’s the kid you passed up on draft day, esse.
Elise – don’t mess with my sister
With friends in different organizations, it’s easy to schedule an out-of-league friendly for my teams. A friendly is a match that doesn’t count in your standings. Sometimes, a friendly isn’t so friendly.
Marie’s Muleicorns have had two friendlies against a Mint Hill Athletics Association team this season. The first was a 7-0 blowout loss. The second, a 2-2 tie. Good progress.
The second match got much more physical. Much less friendly. Elise and her friend Kayla, both with sisters playing on the Muleicorns, were in uniform to help out if we needed them. As bodies flew, both big sisters clamored for playing time. “Put us in, coach!” they said. “I want a shot at them!”
Elise lasted about a minute in the game before the elbows flew, and the brother of one defender hollered for players to “hit her!” as she came by.
Things didn’t get out of hand. The Muleicorns wore down their bigger, slower opponents, and found navigation much easier. A conversation with the other coach, a friend of mine, brought things back under control quickly.
Still, Kayla and Elise stewed. They watched every challenge on their sisters, fist-pumped and hollered and encouraged and warned their opponents not to mess with their little sisters.
Hours later, the game finished and dinner eaten, Elise still seethed a little.
Mess with a Muleicorn, you get the horn.
Mess with the sister, you get much worse.
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The jerseys on this post are cool, huh?
They’re from Peelstar, a company that makes custom decals and magnets out of jerseys you design. Elise and Marie chose to recreate their school jerseys; Grace went with a mash-up of two different seasons (and a little imagination) to come up with hers.
The girls got to make small decals (5×5 inches) for this post. Marie stuck hers to her locker, and her coach thought it was pretty cool. The other two girls haven’t stuck theirs on anything yet. That’s just like them, though: They’ve never cared much for what number they are.
I got an extra set, and stuck them to the windows on my fresh Pontiac Grand-Am. Proudly. There’s a jersey on each window, where the girls usually sit.
I really like this idea for an end-of-season alternative to trophies or medals. Peelstar’s website is cool – it’s interactive and easy to use, to pick designs and colors to match your team. They’d be awesome for a middle or high school team to put on their lockers for the season.
Or, as it was for Grace, not match your teams.
Coach Daddy readers can get 25 percent off their orders by using “Coach Daddy” as an order code online. Follow Peelstar on Facebook for a chance to win prizes, too. Right now, Peelstar has a contest open for free decals for your entire cheerleading squad.
And check out this video – you can send Peelstar your kid’s highlight reel for a chance to win a large decal:
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I was not compensated for this post, although I did receive a code to create jersey decals for each of my girls to review.