Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mighty Mites - Game 2

Game 2 was much better that the catastrophe of game 1. The Mighty Mites played a much better game. And we were more evenly matched. We played Hanson at Whitman Hanson Regional High School. They have a brand new turf field. The place was amazing. The kids thought they were at Gillette Stadium. The offense was able to get plays run and we scored our first touchdown of the season. The defense made some really good tackles. Both teams had some really long drives. The game ended in a 6-6 tie. I will take it.
Of course the parents were confused because Hanson ripped off a long TD run at the end. The problem was there were about 7 holding penalties and 4 clips. We don't call many penalties at this age. But these were so blatant, the other coach insisted on not counting it. It was a step in the right direction for the team. Progress was made.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hard Knocks - DYF Mites

This year is a very different year for Caz and his teammates. It all started without their knowledge in the ugly political battle over head coaching this is the dark underbelly of youth sports these days. Since I don't know first hand all the facts, I can 't begin to opine of the circumstances other to say it was a shame the way it went down. The result was that a few of the coaches from last year's staff, myself included (full disclosure), were not welcomed back. There were other battles on two of the other teams. The fall out there is that the coach that had the most complaints and who was the cause of parents banding together to oust that coach, if the Man Behind the Curtain on Caz's team. He's not the head coach, but he might as well be. And while he's actually a nice guy, it's a Jekyll and Hyde show. Anytime he gets within 500 feet of a football field, he becomes Hyde. He has unrealistic expectations of 9 year olds. While the team is big, meaning it has a lot of kids (36), so playing time is hard to come by, it makes no sense that the same 7-8 kids play Offense, Defense, and Special teams. He expects the "non-starters" to learn by watching in practice, also known as osmosis. The second and third stringers get little attention and reps in practice. There's no chance to move up because he concentrates on the first string. So if you make a great play on scout team, it goes unnoticed. And Game Day? Unless, you are the 11 on the field, there's only one coach that pays attention to you. That guy? Last year's head coach. I give him a lot of credit for hanging in there. He could have taken the easy way out and not coached. But he couldn't let his son and the rest just be fed to the wolf.
So no. Not every one of 36 kids is going to get equal playing time. But there is enough talent on that team to start 22 different kids on offense and defense. There is enough talent to get kids on special teams. I realize that this is my personal view but 9 year old youth football is not supposed to be cutthroat like high school football. Meaning you earn your spot and your playing time. The Man Behind the Curtain issued an email when complaints about playing time started saying that some kids were limited in playing time due to safety issues (while a legitimate concern, I think this was still used as a cop out) and for "lack of knowledge of the game". What 9 year old has a comprehensive knowledge of football? Aren't they still learning at that age?
I consider last season a perfect season. The kids were happy. They improved every week. They played as a team. And lastly, they happened to win. I think we had a great coaching staff. We received a lot of compliments as a coaching staff. This season has just been a polar opposite. I am just happy that Caz seems to be having fun for the most part. He sticks with his teammates. I just hope it doesn't sour him on football. I wouldn't blame him if it did.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mighty Mites vs. Hanover

This was a horror show right from the start. We were way out of our league. The saving grace for us, was that I didn't have access to the booth to be able to use the scoreboard. These Hanover kids were running circles around us. There was one kid who chased down our running back, Jake the Snake, from behind being behind 10-15 yards. They scored on almost every possession, while we struggled just to get a snap off. We did manage to rip off a couple of big gains but I have never been on the short end of such a lopsided contest. Coco had a couple of nice tackles at Dragon Back (an attacking strong safety). So there was a silver lining. And I know....there will be better days.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mighty Mites 2008

This years edition of the former JV - second grade mites, is Coco's first foray into football. As noted previously he is chomping at the bit. 23 of Chandler Elementary's second grade class. It's all their first experience with football too. For me, yes I have coached the last two years. But now it is exclusively 7 year-olds. No older kids to sort of lead the way for the younger kids. I have to adapt to a whole new bunch of coaches. I know one of the other coaches and he is an experienced good guy. I figure between the two of us, we can divide and conquer, each taking one side of the ball. The players seem to be eager, as well as the new coaches. We have an array of very big kids and very small kids. Not much in between. Should be an interesting season.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of School - 2008

It's that time of year again: Back to School. The kids have the new school supplies in their backpacks. They are wearing the new school outfits. I usually take the day off to walk the boys up to the bus, take pictures, and see them off on their first day. But there is some doubt this year. Caz has expressed a desire to walk himself up to the bus this year. My oldest son may be too old and too cool to have Mom or Dad walk with him. Exacerbating the fact is that Caz recently issued an ultimatum to Demi that there would be no more kissing him in public. Demi was crushed. And I can commiserate. It's tough to see your offspring grow up and grow out of their need for you. Sure, it's a small thing, in and of itself. But it is also the first step. I can see the inevitable driver's licence is going to be an all hands on deck crisis, when the time comes.
In the end, I simply asked Caz a few nights before school started if I could walk him up to the bus. Just for the first day of course. He smiled and said yes. It did make me happy. And it all went according to plan. Gizmo accompanied us this year. That was a big thrill for Caz and Coco. They got to show her off to the other kids. Not that they hadn't seen her yet. But her first trip to the bus stop was a cause for celebration. And I got my pictures. I hugged each boy and wished them well on their first day. Another successful day. But in the back of mind, I can't help thinking: Was this my last with Caz?