Practice in the backyard with Pigtails usually goes something like this:
1) Jog a quick warm-up to loosen up, pass the ball back-and-forth, followed by...
2) Pigtails accidentally line-drives the ball directly to the cash and prizes as she squeals and claps. I smile, tell her that didn't hurt, then turn around, bite a knuckle and fight tears.
The spring soccer season wrapped up a couple weeks ago, just ahead of the steam sauna that chokes the Midwest each June. Coach Brad and Shane led the Green Dynamite/Dragons/Leprechauns (girls changed the team name almost weekly, very fluid) through another round of ball kickin', shin splintering good times. Ten girls, most of them in 3rd grade and attend the same school as Pigtails.
The players did a good job this year of covering their position, not all clustering around the ball like flies on manure, spreading out and passing it around defenders towards the net. I suspect the favorite part of the game for many of the girls is still treat time at the end. Especially when someone brings in cookies and punch juice boxes.
Photos from the final game below, I tried to get shots of all the girls on the team. Hope you are not pulling this up on 56k dial-up: