Monday, October 22, 2007

Rejoicing in Mudville

Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer is a famous poem about a baseball game. The poem starts near the end of the game; Casey's team is down by two points. Things look grim. Then luckily Casey gets his chance! Casey is equivalent to today's Barry Bonds. (I liked the analysis of the poem on Wikipedia.)

The poem ends with:

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.

This soccer season has been rough. Collectively our daughters have played in twenty games. Until this Saturday they has lost all but one game. Some of the games have been 5-0 at the half, and then the other team would play easy. The league asks that no team be defeated by more than five points.

We like soccer for a number of reasons. It is a fast moving game. It is great exercise. Our daughters learn teamwork. But it has been hard for each of them to lose every Saturday.

This last Saturday my middle daughter's team fought a great game. They pulled ahead 2-1. At the very last minute the other team scored the winning tie. Our daughter's team was still super excited. These were the first two scores they had made during the whole season.

My youngest daughter's team, one of the teams I coach, played a hard game. They have really started figuring out passing. All of the players new to soccer have made amazing progress. They have risen several levels in their understanding of the game. They will even stay in position. For under age eight the league plays seven girls from each team on the field. This is the transition year where they first start playing position. One of our best players scored early in the game. She took a shot from about twenty feet away, it went between the defenders, and right passed the goalie. Later she scored again. The ball bounced off the goal post, the goalie fumbled for it, the ball bounced around for two more seconds and then rolled across the line! The final score was 2 to 1. I am very pleased with how well the girls play together and the progress they have made.

My oldest daughter's team, which I got drafted to coach, played an amazing game. This team almost fell apart near the start of the season. The first couple games were painful. The girls would often boot the ball down field. The other team would recapture the ball and bring it close to our goal again. Our girls would put up a good defense and boot it out. They were not keeping possession of the ball. The other team again would bring the ball down field. Eventually the other team scored. I think we lost all of the first four games by at least three points. We have gotten some amazing help for the soccer league. The league brought a couple young soccer coaches over from England. One of them came to several of our practices. Additionally a senior, nationally trained, local coach has made about half our practices. It has made a huge difference. The girls are playing position much better, they are passing to each other tons more. They work to be in open space. They are putting the ball in the goal! They won their game last Saturday 5 to 1.

This weekend there was rejoicing in Mudville.

Technorati tags: soccer


Michael said...

I love the comparison between the Mighty Casey and Barry Bonds. I've never thought of that before, but it definitely fits!

Henry Cate said...

One of the points made in the analysis on Wikipedia is that Casey is like the Hare in the Aesop fable "The Tortoise and the Hare." Casey is "a highly gifted and talented individual who fails due to self-infatuated nonchalance."

I don't follow baseball very closely, but my impression is Barry continued to try hard all through his career.