Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Fast and Furious Soccer

Well, another tournament has come and gone. Arctic Bay sent 3 teams this year which I think is a record and the weekend went off without a hitch. I coached the 15 and under boys team and assisted with the 15 and under girls. We also had a 17 and under girls team head down as well. This was only my 4th tournament but over that short span I've been quite impressed by how much the calibre of the players, on all teams, has become. Teams that were considered "easy" just a couple years ago are now serious challengers. Four different coaches (with much more experience than me) actually commented on how impressed they've been watching our 15 and under teams progress over the last 3 years. They are considered a team to look out for by other teams so I'm very proud of them.

Our 15 and under girls have really stepped it up and actually beat Iqaluit in their opening match and tied the second Iqaluit team in their next match. They made it to the semis before being beaten by the eventual gold-medal winning team. Come to think of it, Cape Dorset was the only team that beat them the entire weekend, and in the world of indoor soccer, Dorset is a real power house. The boys also played well. We had a much younger and smaller team this year but they also made it to the semis before losing to Pangnirtung who went on to win silver.

For a community of our size, we generally do pretty good against the bigger teams. There are 3 or 4 we are quite competitive with and do well against Cape Dorset and Iqaluit, teams with more depth, players and facilities. So, in the end I can't help but be proud. We're the small community that has to travel the furthest but we definitely hold our own. And the boys new uniforms were awesome. I would have taken a picture but after the kids had been wearing them for 3 days, they (the uniforms, not the kids) needed a good spin through the washing machine.

My favorite team to watch was a young team from Hall Beach. They were in our pool and played well even though many of there players were 11 or 12 (playing 15 and under). The had energy I can only wish for and their smiles and fast running made them a definite crowd favorite. Even though they lost every game, there smiles and pats of the back the whole time - a perfect example of what sport is all about.

Okay, there was one small glitch in the weekend. After the closing ceremony on the last night, the gym was opened up for the kids staying at Inuksuk HS to burn off some extra energy. Since I've been coaching a bit now, I find that many kids from other communities recognize me each year, even if I don't always remember their names. Anyhow, several of them wanted me to play goalie so they could practice their shooting. Who wouldn't want to see a coach standing in those big nets? Well, can some of those kids ever kick the ball! I took a ball off my hand which bent back my wrist. Oh the pain. A reminder of why I haven't played competitively since grade school. Anyhow, I made a trip to the hospital this morning just to be on the safe side. Initially, the doctor thought I had hyper-extended it but its looking now like just a bad sprain. I'll be prudent and head to the health centre here tomorrow for an x-ray though once the rest of the swelling goes down.

So while it is slightly annoying having to do everything with one-hand, including typing these words (thankfully I'm a lefty), I couldn't help but have a chuckle with my team. This is probably the only tournament where the players were fine but a coach sustained a soccer-related injury.


Alex said...

leftys are the future! Anyone who disagrees will surely meet much left handed dealt pain!

I mean...uhh...glad to hear the weekend went well.