Thursday, April 10, 2008

Process Zombies On The Soccer Field!!!

The kids are both playing soccer for the first time this spring. Last Saturday was the first "practice," although it was more of a "stand in line" than a practice.

J is in the 3-5 year old group. There were about 100 of them, divided into two groups of 50. The guy in charge had them all get in a line. He then called them forward one at a time to dribble a soccer ball around 4 cones and shoot at a goal. Ever see a 3-year-old dribble a soccer ball around 4 cones? The really fast ones get through it in about 30 seconds - which means it took over 25 minutes to go through the whole group of 50.

That's right - fifty 3-5 year olds, spending 25 minutes standing in line, for the chance to kick the ball once.

In the organizer's defense, the turnout was much larger than they'd expected. But the guy should have done something different. He should have adjusted his plans when he realized his predictions of the situation were off (way off!). Instead, he stuck to the plan. Stupid. Looks like the Inflexible Process Mindset even extends to youth sports organizers. But the worst part was the way the parents were completely complicit in the snafu. Over and over, I heard parents telling their kids "Stay in line... Johnny, stay in line..."

Not this kid! While the organizer continued to run the kids through those 4 doggone cones, I found a stray soccer ball (there were several laying around, completely unkicked). I went up to the section of the line where J was patiently waiting. I kicked it to her. She kicked it back. I kicked it to the kid standing next to her. He kicked it back. Up and down the line I went, for 25 minutes - the kids kicked and jumped and laughed and played (and, interestingly, stayed in line).

Well, one kid got out of line. That would be my daughter - she came out to stand next to me. She kicked the ball to the kids in line, and they kicked back to her. When a kick went wild, she chased it.

That's my girl.


Kim said...

I can just hear the music from Dead Poet's Society when they're out reciting lines and playing soccer.

dad said...

Hi Dan: be careful what you 'seek' while 'moving' outside the box.... you sound like an automatic dead ringer for a 'new coach' next sat, or at least a new 'asst' coach next sat.... good luck to the girls and to you - 'coach'..... Dad, an ex- kid's soccor coach