Well… so ends another season of lacrosse for the San Jose Vipers U9 league.  We have had a great season this year!! Today was the Surf City Tournament in Scott’s Valley, California.  It was a beautiful day, and I could feel the buzz of excitement before I even went to sleep last night.  In fact, it was a bit difficult to fall asleep.  Lol.
My son and I awoke, pre-dawn to get ourselves prepared for the days events.  He was all smiles and cocky attitude on the way to the event.  To tell the truth… so was I.  We arrived early and scoped out the fields that were set up for play.  We lounged around a bit awaiting the rest of the team.  As they started to show up, the boys started playing and bragging about how many goals they were going to score, and how awesome they were.  The parents chilled out with each other and watched the kids practice before the game.
They amazed everyone with the way they played today.  They were playing like they were fighting for their lives.  I assume it must have seemed that way to them.  As I watched, not just my son, but the whole team, I felt a surge of pride that I could barely contain.  These kids were up at the crack of dawn to come out here and show the other teams what they were made of.  I think they did a damn good job of it.
In the end, we lost an elimination game in the semi-finals due to a horrible call by the official.  While part of me wanted to go throttle the guy, there was a part of me that thinks the boys needed this loss.  They have grown cocky over the season because they have only lost three of fifteen games.  I think they needed the lesson in humility.  Don’t get me wrong… I really wanted to see my kids win, but you can’t always win.  That is something I would like them to learn now, instead of having a harsh lesson later in life.
We put too much emphasis on kids being special nowadays.  While it is true that all of our children are special… it is also true that if we cottle them too much, the real world is going to be one hell of a slap in the face when they realize that they really aren’t that special in the grand scheme of things.  I would love to give my son the world, but always letting him win, and telling him that it was unfair that they lost is only going to reinforce the idea that the world owes them something, and if they don’t get what they want, they can blame it on someone else.
Instead, I told my son that, yes… it was a bad call, but it happens in sports sometimes.  The official doesn’t have the same viewing angle as everyone else, so sometimes he is going to miss things.  That’s why they have so many officials in professional sports.  His uncle told him that the best way to get back at them, is to come back next year and win.  We have agreed to train during the off season, and I told him I will help him with whatever he needs.  But I also told him not to expect to do too well next year because we are losing eleven of our thirteen players because they are moving up in the age bracket.  So next year we will have two returning players, and a slew of new ones.
I am happy to see that he is dedicating himself to becoming a better player over the off season.  Let’s see how long it takes him to say he would rather play video games instead of train. Lol.  That’s it for now I guess.  Have a great evening everyone. 🙂


    This is my youngest son’s second year playing lacrosse. I have had the pleasure of being assistant coach for this season, which I’m happy to say we only lost 3 games. Even though in the under 9 league, we have tried to instill the fact that winning is not important. But as my son pointed out to me one day during an argument about training and attitude, “It’s not important to you, but to us, it is.”
    It has been amazing to watch the kids grow and learn how to play the game. But the best by far, has been to watch the bonds that they have formed over the course of the season. They have had great times, and bad as well. There have been celebrations, and arguments. And a couple times, I have seen them lash out in anger.
    A team is like a second family. There will be times when they don’t get along, but when you step back and take a good look, they really do love each other. I came into this family with more than a bit of trepidation. As I know the head coach did as well. I wasn’t sure I could do anything to help these kids focus, and practice. In truth, I was afraid of failure. I was afraid that the kids wouldn’t listen, and the parents wouldn’t like me. But, as I was once told, if you never step out of your comfort zone, you will never know what you are capable of.
    I have done what I could this season to help in any way I could. Anything from running some drills, to cheering up kids with hurt feelings or helping the injured kids out. My main mission this season, was to put smiles on their faces and watch them grow as a team, and enjoy something I never had the opportunity to. I believe I did a decent job.
    I remember growing up, and for my short time in college, I wanted to be a teacher. After this season, I now understand why. I love seeing something I teach, take root. I love the smile on a persons face when they get it. And I love the thought that maybe in some small way, I have made a positive difference in a persons life.
    At the post season party, there were awards being given to the children. It brought tears to my eyes to see the pride on their faces as they received their 2012 Vipers shirts. They were ecstatic about them. They have sweat, bled, and played together. They have won and lost. They have helped each other on the field. And I have no doubt that one day they will look back with fondness at the times they spent together.
    Then came the gifts to the coaches. It was odd to find myself included in this. I don’t usually think much of myself. I certainly am not used to praise of any kind. So it was a blow to my emotions to receive a shirt, as well as a card signed by all the team members. I managed to keep my composure, but I wanted to cry. I have never in my life felt like I have belonged to a group. I have never fit in. I have always called myself a lifelong student of life, but sometimes it takes awhile for lessons to sink into my brain.
    Besides the kids, the parents have been amazing as well. I have enjoyed our talks, and interactions. I am saddened that so many will be moving up to the u11 league next year, but at least we will still all be on the same team… just different age groups.
    There will only be two kids left on the u9 team next year, but I will never forget the kids who taught me a valuable lesson in life this year. I have always tried to listen to my elders, and have never really thought of children as teachers, but thanks to the 2012 Vipers I have learned that I finally belong… I finally fit in.
    Thank you all for being there and sacrificing your time for your kids. It’s great to see so many people out there at the games.  Thank you all for a great season. 🙂