Friday, May 28, 2010

Sports Complex, Part 1 of 3

Hey there all, sorry for the hiatus there.  Work got really busy, and with the end of the school year and all that, sleep has been more important than almost any other activity I can think of.

Among all the other end of year activities was Barley's final soccer game of the regular season (playoffs next month).  They were up against a reputedly tough team, undefeated.  Our team had lost for the first time the week before, supplementing its 2 ties.  The team that beat us that weekend was lower ranked than ours, and we had expected a simple win, even with one of our best players out of town.  Instead, it was a tight game, and the other guys just wanted it more.

The parents were all prepped for a rough game this weekend, though we tried not to tell our boys that ahead of time. Another tight game--our team seems to play a lot harder when up against a tougher team.  By halftime, we were ahead 2 to 1.

Then Barley replaced our best goalie in the net.  The play went back and forth, lots of focus on both sides, when the other team scored, tying up.  Barley did not look happy.  DH beside me was so tense, I thought he would break the arm off his chair.  Our forwards tried hard to score another ball, but were held back again and again.  Then, 2 minutes before the end of the game, the other team got another ball past Barley.

The coach pulled Barley out of the net immediately, replacing him with the 3rd goalie of the day.  I watched Barley sit out the end, anxious about how he would react, and how the other boys would be treating him.  When we all got in the car to go home, we learned several things that I found upsetting:
  1. The coach did not speak to Barley after pulling him from the net
  2. The other boys told Barley that it was his fault they lost the game.  This included the #1 goalie, who the week before had been very upset about letting the other team score to win.
  3. The coach called out each of the other boys by name, complimenting them on some aspect of the game, but not Barley
Of course the mood in the van was pretty gloomy heading home.  The other boys hassling Barley was no surprise.  They are young, and immature.  The other goalie blamed himself when they lost, so it was not much of a leap to blame Barley as a fellow goalie.

We talked to Barley as a family, reminding him that soccer is a TEAM sport, and no one single person loses a game--nor wins one for that matter.  Every person on the team depends on the others to move the ball forward, or prevent the ball from coming to the goalie in the first place.

Then DH asked Barley if he really thought he should have been able to stop either of the 2 balls that got past him.  Barley considered, and said he thought the second one.  DH pointed out why that wasn't the case.  (I will admit it looked to me like Barley was standing on the wrong side of the net, but I kept that thought to myself)  DH reviewed it for us, and said in his opinion, it was a good play, and a solid kick by the other team.  They were fast, well-positioned, and Barley was alone--no defenders near him.  He blocked the shot the other team looked like they wanted to make, and they kicked a high hard angle over his head into the other corner.

If the shots had really been ones that Barley had "blown", then DH said he would let Barley know, so they could practice and be ready for it next time.  But there was not anything that Barley did wrong this time, and to try to shake it off.  Which I am pleased to report, he did, escaping into the omnipresent videogames around our house.

Click to read Part II of this series.


  1. I have no doubt that I was the most anxious person on or off the field when the Coach put Barley into the net for the second half, with a one goal lead against the only undefeated/untied team in the league! I guess now we know how they won all those games! That being said, I'm super proud of Barley for pushing himself as a player and being willing to get into that net.

  2. The point is not who won, or who did the right thing, or whether Barley could or couldn't stop the ball. Barley's teammates support the single person on their team who scores - they act like the whole team scored, WHICH IT DID. They need to support Barley when he, as the lone person in the net, didn't stop the ball. The coach SHOULD have talked to Barley upon pulling him out. Did the coach hear those boys tell Barley those cruel things? The coach SHOULD have complimented Barley. The boys-will-be-boys or the idea of taking it on the chin like a man? It scary to get in that net, but worse to have people on your team treat you badly, and I think the coach needs to fix it and stop it. BTW, A big mean girl was big and mean all over my skinny wonderful daughter, during a soccer game. I got loud and complaining at the ref. I received a yellow card from the ref...there was more big mean girl, more loud/complaining me...I got a red card. My daughter's soccer coach asked me to leave the field. - Little Drummer Girl

  3. That coach, for all the good he did working with the boys and volunteering his time and blah, blah, blah, essentially led the charge against Barley by, one, not talking to him when he pulled him as goalie, and, two, not complimenting him, and, three, not putting an end to the other kids hassling Barley. A note to the league seems entirely appropriate. That coach blew it. HE needs to man up.


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