C. got her own sports post last week. The sisters deserve updates, too.

We’re in the last week of kickball season. Baring a miracle finish (and collapse by another team), M.’s team will not make the tournament. They’re currently 5–1, but that one L was a 27–2 loss to a team they face again in the season finale. That game was brutal. It was a cold, windy, nasty day. St. P’s was missing five players (although they would not have made a difference in the outcome). And St. B’s is the school that knocked our girls out of the volleyball tournament last month. That B might stand for something other than the saint it is supposed to honor!

M. has had a good couple of weeks. One night she went 3–4, with three runs scored, and even fielded a ball in the outfield and got it to second for a force out, something that does not happen very often. Against St. B’s, our girls were getting no-hit (no-kicked?)[1] into the third inning before M. got on base and scored the first run of the day. And in her next game she was 3–3 with three runs scored. We’d still like her to kick the ball harder, but she’s improved a lot at the plate, and is beginning to get a better feel for how to play the field.

At practice last night, they were short several girls. In order to get the team some more fielding practice, the coaches called over C. and L. and let them kick and run the bases. They both played true to type. C. kicked the crap out of the ball twice – farther than M. has ever kicked it – but both times it was in the air and caught for an out. L.’s first kick was a short roller to one of the suicides[2], who fumbled the ball then over-threw first base. L. raced all the way around the bases for a classic Little League home run.[3] All the fourth graders were screaming and cheering for her and did their home run chant after.

While we were eating dinner, M. filled her role perfectly. She began explaining to C. that she might be able to get away with kicking the ball in the air when she plays kickball next year in third grade, but in fourth grade she’d have to learn how to keep it on the ground. She then jumped up from the table and demonstrated the different ways to throw the ball, how L. was breaking the rules by leading off before the ball was kicked, etc. At least it was done with love.

As for L., her soccer team is 2–0–1. Yes, a tie in U6 soccer. Worse, it was 4–4 on a night when L. could have easily scored 10 goals, and her teammates could have added at least half a dozen more. But the entire team kept kicking the ball just inches left or right. Their coach even yelled at them, “You guys are like Florida State! Always wide left!” L. did have a sweet, left-footed shot from about 20 feet out that I swear she was trying to curl into the goal. She just missed, though.

She made up for those misses Sunday. Her squad was playing a team full of five-year-olds. L. and the other six-year-olds on her team just destroyed these poor kids. Each time the other team kicked off, L. or someone else ran up, stole the ball, and took off for the goal. They were scoring a goal roughly every minute, with most of the minute taken up by the other team walking the ball back to mid-field and prepping to kick off again.

L.’s actual goal count is a bit uncertain. S. watched the first half of the game, while I was across the park at C.’s softball game. Then we switched at halftime of L.’s game. L. scored somewhere between 11 and 16 goals. Or maybe more.

After the game she had to go to a birthday party. But as soon as she got home from that, she put on one of her old soccer uniforms and ran around in that until shower time. For bed, instead of wearing pajamas, she put on yet another soccer uniform. Three uniforms in one day!

For her morning work one day last week, she wrote that she scored seven goals in her first game, and wanted to score 100 for the year. As crazy as that sounds…

Oh, and C.’s team has now won three games in a row, and she’s gone 1–3 in each of her last two games. She and M. both have games tonight, so hopefully I’ve not jinxed either one of them.

One more kickball story. Coaches always have trouble positioning outfielders. They always creep in toward the infield, are often not paying attention to what’s going on at the plate, and are prone to running the ball back in rather than throwing it. A few games back, St. P’s best kicker came up. The opposing coach was screaming at his centerfielder to move back. She took a couple tiny, tip-toed steps back. He yelled to back up more. Two more tiny steps. Finally, the coach roared, “LOOK WHO’S UP!!!” That did the trick. She took like five big steps back.

That was a wise choice. A. kicked an absolute rocket right at the centerfielder. It bounced once, went over her shoulder, and rolled to the edge of the parking lot. Had she not moved, I’m pretty sure the ball would have taken her head off. I bet that girl learned her lesson, though, and moves when her coach says to move.

It’s always high comedy to hear dads talking during kickball games and struggle with whether to use baseball/softball terms, or adjust them. “Who’s up to bat next? Or, um, to kick?”  ↩

Suicides are the players who stand to either side of the pitcher. They have to play behind an arc that is about 15 feet from home. They either pounce on slow rollers or try to catch liners before they get smacked in the face.  ↩

Little League home run: when a player circles the bases thanks to an error or other defensive error and thinks they hit (or kicked in this case) a home run when they actually got a single with a three-base error.  ↩