By Donna Olmstead
You know you're watching beginners soccer when ...
* You can’t tell if the players actually have knees.
* Two players stop to chat in the middle of the game.
* One player keeps wandering toward his mom on the sidelines.
* A lot of the siblings are still in strollers.
* Parents yell “get a guy!” when they mean “mark a player.”
* “Pass” isn’t a relevant word.
* Parents tie the players’ shoes.
* Just before the game starts, the coach asks, “Did everyone go to the bathroom?”
* Players are more interested in who brought snacks than in who won the game.
* The keeper’s legs are so short she can throw the ball farther than she can kick it.
* The coach just picks up players to put them into position.
* There are usually too many or too few players on the field.
* Jerseys are big enough to fit through at least two more seasons.
* The coach and parents frequently yell, “Go the other way!”
* “Swarm” pretty much describes the game plan.
* The keeper falls down and cries when a ball gets past him into the goal.
* Players don’t have to duck when they walk through the parents’ tunnel at the end of the game.
* Everyone gets a trophy when the season is over. (And for beginning players, that’s the best part of the game.)
(Florida resident Donna Olmstead has been involved in soccer through both her children and her grandchildren, as well as housing professional players and owning and running an indoor soccer facility. She is a freelance writer and spends weekends trying to remember at which tournament she's supposed to be cheering.)