Sporty ThingsYoung Man has finally finished his second lacrosse season and it ended very well. After his first goal early in the season, his confidence continued to climb and he managed several more goals during games and his team ended the regular season undefeated! They did suffer three losses in festival play (smaller fields, playing teams from the south county league), but I am soooo proud of our boys for their play during those games.
Three weeks ago, the boys played in a festival and faced the undefeated team from south county, Team X. We quickly learned how that team won their games. Yes, they had skill, but they also made an incredible number of fouls and had terrible sportsmanship. The poor single referee had his hands full trying to make sure that no one got hurt! Making it worse was listening to the five adult coaches (and gaggle of parents) congratulating their boys when they made fouls! Our two teenage coaches kept our boys going, but it was tough.
Two weeks ago we learned that we were slated to play this same team again. I explained to our head coach what had happened (he wasn't at the first game) and suggested that he come and bring some coach friends to support his young coaches and see if we could have two referees.
Game day dawned bright and sunny. We had some moments when we wondered if we would even be able to field a team. At the last minute, our tenth player arrived. Our boys went up against their first opponent of the day with no substitute players! The boys played very, very well. It was frustrating to have a substitution time called and our boys could only change positions while the other team could swap out more than half of their players. Even so, our Team won the game 4-3. Young Man survived a horrific (for his mother) hit that layed him out on the ground. Unfortunately for all, the ref didn't see it. Young Man got right up, dusted himself off, and got back in the game. About three-fourths of the way through the game, an eleventh player arrived and we had one sub!
Our head coach arrived at the end of the first game and gathered the boys to pump them up before they faced Team X. Our coach also had a talk with the referee and I noticed the ref speak to the Team X coaches. I cannot say enough good things about this ref. He was calm, patient, and explained everything to the boys. Team X still had a fair number of fouls, but they played a MUCH cleaner game than the first time we faced them. Mr. Engineer had overheard some of their team "pep" talk. The coaches strategy was to denigrate the opposing team and basically shame their boys into winning. It was completely different from any coaching our boys have received.
Even with the added support and better officiating, our boys had a very tough game. The temperature went into the 80s and the boys were tired! Again, Team X had a full slate of players and could sub out over half their team at each opportunity. Our boys still only had one sub and they were obviously dragging. Things looked pretty dismal as Team X rang up goal after goal. As the second half moved on, our boys were down 10-0. Did they give up? No, they didn't! Young Man (my Young Man!) made two shots on goal and then recovered his own miss and scored! This rallied the team and they made two more quick goals. Finally, the game was over and our boys had made it! All were hot, sweaty, tired, but happy that they never let up.
The score (10-3) may have indicated a loss, but this was still a good ending for a great season.