The fog horn is growling as we get in the car. It’s a short drive down to the fields – left at the lights, right at the fire station and down the dead end street until we see the field house and other cars parked on our left. A steady stream of parents toting fold up chairs, energetic kids in brightly coloured jerseys and tag-a-long siblings out to cheer on brothers and sisters are making their way along the path to the playing area.
Three mini-fields are laid out at the base of a steep hill. One dad tells how this was a rockin’ sledding place before the soccer pitch was put in and enclosed with a fence around its perimeter. Five teams, 60 kids aged four to six bouncing around, make up this youngest age group in the Eastern Passage league.
Tonight as the odd team out, it’s practice time. Our coach is awesome. It’s obvious that he’s been doing this for awhile. He keeps the kids’ attention and ensures that everyone is having fun. One of the kids grabs coach’s ball cap and makes a mad dash for it around the field. A chase and lots of laughter ensue. In a short time, coach makes a real connection with the kids.
There is a pairing off passing drill, a shooting drill and of course some running. Noah is beaming the whole time, particularly when he has the ball. After the drills, it’s scrimmage time. This is what all the kids are waiting for. The ball is moving up the field, down the field, around the field. With their yellow jerseys, the players are like a cloud of bees buzzing around that sweet nectar ball.
Noah does a short stint between the goal posts and saves a couple of shots. He wants out on the field though to get in on the action running after that ball. He’s the smallest of the group and has to pump his legs all that much harder to keep up with the bigger kids. He’s going for all he’s worth.
The yellow cloud comes in around the coach and his assistant. They all cheer and celebrate their first outing together. It’s going to be a great season. And the weather, well it can only get better – all the spectators are chilled to the bone in the foggy, intermittent rain. Nellie needs to be held to warm her up. Lila is snoozing all the way through the cold.
Next week is our first game against opponents. It’ll be a lot of fun.