THE MYTH OF LITTLE LEAGUE (MOI VERSION OF SPORTS, #3)
But on the way to SF for his first poetry reading experience, Michael and his team played another game -- and they won 5-0. I hollered so hard from the sidelines that I'm surprised I was able to do a poetry reading hours later!
But this game was also when I observed again what a myth it seems to be about how the "Little League" should operate, to wit, that it's not who wins or lose but that everyone has a good time. I'm not the only one on the sidelines who get all agitated over caring about the results. When we hit the 5-0 level, the hubby muttered out loud: "It should be 7-0 by now!"
That's when one of the other chuckling parents explained to us newbie parents that these games aren't supposed to be a rout -- that when we hit a score like 5-0, coaches typically re-assign the best forwards to play defense (as what occurred on our team). Yadda. But as I was listening to this explanation, one of the kids from the other side -- A BIG KID! -- shoved Michael aside in a move that was obvious to all, making Moi let loose with:
HEY IF YOU'RE GOING TO HIT SOMEONE, YOU GOTTA HIDE IT BETTER!
I was being ironic, but that nuance didn't come through. All that came through were the guffaws that greeted my holler from another set of parents exiting the field after their games were over. I looked over at them and paraphrased DeNiro, "You all laughing at me?!"
Big, burly Dad grinned and said, "Yep."
Well, nuff said. But let me tell you something: It's a good time when we win, and when we lose the cheer on parents' faces is often a d*mn lie. Or, as John Bloomberg-Rissman shares in a soccer poem he sent, written in the 1990s when his son Sam was also playing soccer:
STERN GODS ON THE SIDELINES
Stern gods on the sidelines
Clamor for victory
While the young in bright colors
Race after a ball.
When things go wrong
Out on the field
The stern gods run their fingers
Through their thinning hair.
But, you know, I should set a better example for good sportsmanship. So let me end on a classier note with another soccer poem by John -- who does also capture just how enchanting the sight is of little girls playing soccer:
LANDSCAPE WITH FIGURES
The shouts of boys as they run
Rise through the air shimmering
Like heat off a parking lot
Rise as they run
One after the other
Kicking a soccer ball.
Someone hollers “Sam!”
He passes the ball – precision,
Right in the mouth of the goal –
Ryan kicks it in.
Giotto’s angels up above
Loop for joy
In a pure blue sky.
And O the green of the grass
The boys’ feet fly.
A brightness beyond banners
Waves on the breeze.
A 13 year old girl
Rolls by in shin guards
Tight shorts and cleats –
One of the Pink Panthers –
A warrior queen.
If you have a soccer poem, do feel free to keep sending to Moi!