I miss my guys

The autumn soccer season has started and all the kids have moved up a year. Our team was unexpectedly successful these last two years, apparently too successful, as the local professional team stole another of our players and our own club has promoted no less than four of them up to the next level a year early.

That means I’ve lost all ten kids that made up our tournament team, plus two kids who weren’t good enough to make it, and out of 24 kids I’ve got more that have never kicked a ball (5) than have seen a tournament before (3). I have no idea how I’m going to instill in them the sort of discipline and diehard competitiveness their predecessors had, and to be honest, I don’t even know if that would be possible.

But it was great to see last year’s squad when they showed up for practice just as the little ones were leaving the field. The boys aren’t too cool to look pleased to see their old coach yet, and they were beaming as they informed me, en masse, that last Saturday they’d beaten our club’s onetime nemesis, Blue, for what is now the third year in a row. At this rate, they’re going to give those future professionals a serious inferiority complex.

It was strange, but I really didn’t want to leave the field and walk away while they were still playing out there. It seems time passes us all by in the end.

When they don’t have a case

A reader responds to the Sports Guy:

More importantly, why do you care so much? You’ve whined about the WNBA something like 10 times this summer. Just quit it already. It’s not fun to read. I can only guess that you harp on this because you feel threatened, and I can’t guess as to why that is. Your sports dominate — football, baseball and basketball. Just let it be. Let the WNBA fans have their WNBA. I don’t watch it, but I don’t care that someone else does. Why do you care?

Simmons posted two pages of responses to his anti-WNBA column, and while the supportive emails are much more fun to read, I was struck by how familiar the critical emails sounded. Questioning motives is the last resort of the roundly defeated; “well, what do you care, anyhow?” has got to be one of the least effective responses to a facts-based analysis this side of Miss Pandagon’s threat to have unproductive sex with the men of America.