During the winter months, my daughters’ soccer programs move indoors. In addition to their normal practices they also have girls games of Futsal. For those unaware, Futsal is a soccer game born in Brazil played on a small field/court which focuses on the development of foot skills.
Over the weekend, my youngest had a game against a cross town team. She is 11, going on 12, going on 30. As I’m standing there watching the game before ours, her opponent starts to arrive. Girl after girl trickles in to the gym. Then, in walks a girl that was probably at or above my shoulder. I’m approximately 6’4″ so that’s saying something. I thought to myself ‘hmm, she must be playing later against some high schoolers’, or ‘maybe she’s here to watch her sister play’. I go about watching the game that’s going on in front of me. The final whistle blows, teams scatter, and our girls take to the court to warm up. I look across the gym and what do I see? The big girl warming up too. Now, I know that we are playing up an age for this particular game, but come on. I was already a little hesitant about our girls’ chances against an older group of girls, but now I see this big girl rolling around the court and I’m definitely calling off all bets.
The game gets ready to start and guess what she does. She lifts her hand up to her face and quickly inserts a big black mouthpiece. Are you kidding me? One, that can’t be a good sign that she’s putting in a mouthpiece. This means she expects, and fully embraces, full contact. Two, it just adds to the intimidation factor. Luckily, or not, she starts the game in goal for the other team. Needless to say, nothing got past her. Our team took some good shots but she literally flew, slid, and snagged any and every thing 5 yards around her. In Futsal the keeper can bring the ball out if they want to risk it. She, of course, would like to risk it. On multiple occasions she would roll the ball forward, and barrel down the court to fire a shot at our poor keeper, shedding opposing players along the way. Later in the game she was moved out of goal and became a menace all over the court. I’m not sure how many goals she finished with but I’m pretty sure there were some dents in the wall around the goal. She also received the Shaq treatment from the refs. Even if she wasn’t trying, when our girls bounced off of her, she was usually called for the foul. I guess that keeps it even, to some degree.
I’ve seen this throughout the years at my girls games. There are usually one or two girls (inevitably on the opposing team) that seem like they are at least 2 years older than everyone else. You know Chinese gymnasts cheat but you don’t want to believe it at this age for soccer. It’s highly unlikely though and I don’t believe there was cheating in this case. There is a pretty formal process to make sure the ages are correct and coaches aren’t taking advantage of the league. Each girl has a player card and they are checked prior to every game. What you’ll find is there is just a simple difference in size for girls in youth sports. Some girls are big, some are small. The big girls usually enjoy years of domination as a result. You’ll also see really athletic girls and not so athletic girls. Again, athletes dominate the early ages. Once they get older, the game can change. The girls that have been focusing on the proper skills and techniques slowly catch the early bloomers and the athletic girls suddenly don’t just ride their pure athleticism to glory.
If you are a parent heading into the years where your child starts to take to the field, just be ready to see some major differences in size and athleticism. If you are already fully engulfed in kids sports, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ll have to learn to live with it. If you show up at a game and they have a player that could be someone’s older brother/sister, just relax and enjoy the game as much as possible. And quietly enjoy the moment where your kid shows no fear and goes body to body with them, not backing down from the challenge. Just make sure you stop yourself from running onto the field at any time yelling to see their player card. Not a good look.
Ok, maybe not, but thanks for reading my post. I hope you liked it and will consider subscribing to Crazy Dad Life to get the latest content delivered direct to your inbox when it happens. Then you won't have to sit there days from now asking yourself, 'where did I read that wonderful english masterpiece a few days ago?'