The other day, I got to shoot soccer ... specifically, a U8 league team! Most of the time these days, my photographic time is tied up with the older kids. You see the updates quite often are in the middle school, High School, or college level sports pages on my website. But every now and then I get an invitation to cover something a little different. This time it was 2nd grade girls playing soccer, and boy was it fun!
The girls were having the time of thier lives. Everyone on the team got to play about the same amount of time. Some were focused and competitive, others just playing in the mud. It was so refreshing to see the sheer joy on a little girl's face when she scored a goal or did some other amazing feat. It was also a pleasure (at least in the game I was shooting) to see parents that were supportive rather than critical of thier kids and coaches.
As they get older, we see more and more parents living vicariously through thier children and grandchildren, unable to accept defeat, and being very poor sports. Some days, I wonder whether I am at a school event or a longshoremen's gathering. It was downright refreshing to see coaches laughing with the girls rather than yelling at them; teaching rather than ridiculing. It brought back my own memories of Little League when we got to go out for ice cram after the game no matter what the score was. I stand in admiration of those adults who give up thier time to be with a bunch of kids that they may or may not have been familiar with prior to thier current gathering. These adults set a model of service to the children that will not be forgotten, and if they do thier jobs well, will teach them how to win no matter what the scoreboard says.