The countdown continues for the big kickball game Wednesday. Other things distracted me a bit over the weekend, but I imagine the nerves are going to start to kick in again later today.

The distractions were good ones, though. First, C had her best ever finish in her cross country meet Saturday. She finished 16th in her first meet of the year. She was running against 5th and 6th graders in that race and there were over 100 girls total in her race. A week ago, she fell into two mud puddles on a terribly sloppy course and still claimed 9th place in the 3rd/4th division.

This Saturday she was again running on a pretty wet course. Fortunately this one was mostly grass, so it was more spongey than muddy like the previous week. But it was also super humid and the sun popped up just as her race began. All the kids seemed to be struggling with the thickness of the air.

She was again running in a race that spanned four grades, but this week she would just be scored against the 3rd and 4th graders. But we had no way of telling which girls were in which category. One parent noticed that some of the girls had yellow numbers, others had white. We decided that must be the way to tell the two groups apart. We were wrong.[1] But we were counting the yellow numbers as they went by. And when C passed us, just before the finishing stretch, she was in 12th place and right on the heels of the girl in 11th. She didn’t quite catch that girl, but came in right at her PR time and was looking strong. It was a great race.

We were having guests over that evening, and this was a late afternoon race, so we didn’t stick around through the next three races to wait for the awards ceremony. I was shocked when I got a text a little after 5:00 saying C had finished 5th! Holy crap! She was again the fastest St. P’s 4th grader, two places behind our super-fast 3rd grader, and had two classmates in the top ten with her. I ran up to her room and told her. She got a silly grin on her face and said, “Since when did I finish 5th?!?!”

She’s doing a great job and having a lot of fun running.

Sunday was L’s second soccer game of the year. She moved up to U10 this year, which means a much bigger field (60 x 40 yards), 7 v. 7, and 25-minute halves rather than the small field (35 x 20 yards), 4 v. 4, and 8-minute periods U8 rules she played the last two years. And she’s a seven-year-old playing against kids that are beginning to get a lot bigger than her. She was humbled in her first few practices, when she couldn’t just get possession and weave through the defense at will then fire away. In fact, after one practice she decided she did not want to be a striker anymore and instead wanted to be a sweeper.

Their first game was pretty rough. They had a 2–0 lead at halftime, but the coaches made a poor choice in goal to start the second half and gave up four goals in about five minutes. Our kids ended up losing 7–4. L had one decent chance to score but couldn’t convert.

This week we got a better matchup, our kids looked more comfortable, and our coaches had the lineups a little better balanced. Just like last week, our kids broke through late in the first half and had a 2–0 lead at halftime.

That’s when homegirl decided to do her Roberto Baggio act. Early in the second half, she got the ball out wide right just over the midfield line. She angled toward the middle of the field, got a defender to turn and commit that way, and then cut the ball back hard right. That defender was toast. She got him spun around then cut back left again, dribbled through the 18-yard box, and fired a shot in from about six feet out. It was a pretty sweet play!

She had a couple more near-misses before she pulled off a Roberto Baggio play. She collected a loose ball in the corner and dribbled through about five defenders along the end line. She faked the goalie one way, took a quick touch to get an angle, and shot the ball by her with the outside of her foot. Another sweet-ass move, if dear old dad says so!

She had a third goal later, but the referee was out of position and didn’t give it to her. After the game, when I asked L if that ball went it, she said, “YES! That ref wasn’t even watching!” I liked her attitude and told her I was giving her credit for it anyway.[2] Her team won something like 8–0. We honestly quit paying attention once it got out-of-hand.

I think she’s more excited about being a striker again now that she’s seen she can score at this level.

  1. We never figured out what the difference between the yellow and white numbers were.  ↩
  2. Hey, we don’t keep official score in these games, so I can give my girl credit for a goal the ref robbed from her!  ↩