The soccer infection seems to have spread.
Either that or we are becoming some sort of comic-book suburban family, because both my offspring have taken up kid soccer. Saturday I did nothing but soccer, kid or otherwise, it seemed.
Missy started us off in the morning with her little U-8 team playing on the football field down in Westmoreland Park in SE Portland. That's Little Miss wearing #4 in the photo above, by the way...
Most of the little ones don't really "play soccer". They run around chasing the ball; it's the worst sort of kiddie bunchball, for the most part. Missy's team was lucky to have Jazmine (wearing #12 in the snapshot above) who is not just four inches taller than the rest of the tinies but actually has some foot-eye coordination and some muscle memory skills.
Jazmine basically won the little one's first match; both the opposition (called, ridiculously, "Liverpool"...) and her own teammates were basically there to provide local color.
Pleasantly, neither Little Miss and her team nor her opponents seemed to care much about the game. They enjoyed the running around, and the cupcakes afterwards. Missy got in some good kicks and even provided Jazmine with an assist on one of her many goals.
My favorite part was the two teams turning the perfunctory post-match lineup-and-palmslap-good-game-Cheetahs! ritual into their own little vortex of kid energy, as they turned around and around four times giggling "good game Liverpool/Falconettes!" as they swirled and twirled.
The Boy's game was that afternoon and was an entirely more serious business.
Peep has decided he like playing in goal; he says he likes being the Last Line of Defense and being able to use his hands. Even giving up three goals in his half of play didn't seem to really discourage him. Good boy; I'd have been furious if I'd have shipped five goals in a half.
The afternoon was warm and lazy, and the sidelines were a Rockwellesque picture of soccer moms and dads, brothers, and sisters enjoying the day and uncritically applauding the play, good and bad.
Luckily for us we met a friend from Astor school and her daughter who shared Missy's love of all things My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, so the two little girls gleefully played ponies and thus whiled away the boring brother's game...
The Boy's team was rather handily thrashed, but this didn't seem to faze Number One Son, who hung around after ward to play kickabout with his pal (whose golazo was one of the few highlight for the "Cheetahs") and enjoyed the post-match chocolate shake-and-Burgerville-fries without a shade of remorse.
To top off the night I drove down to the Timbers match against Toronto FC. The team has been having a bad patch lately; injuries and suspensions have thinned an already-thin first XI and three meetings with first-place Real Salt Lake have resulted in three ugly defeats.
So going to a match lately has seemed less like "fun" and more like a chore; a disagreeable chore that has to be suffered through to help the team. As the troubles mount on the pitch it seems more critical to sing and chant and implore the Boys into the fight.
But it doesn't seem very enjoyable.
So it was an unanticipated pleasure to attend a match that exploded in a glorious cascade of Portland goals, four of them, and turned into a spontaneous party and outburst of happiness.
The tradition in Portland is that our lumberjack "mascot" Timber Joey saws off a slice of log for each goal and another for the keeper if he keeps a clean sheet.
As you can see, Saturday night's harvest was a pretty impressive pile of lumber.
Then - in keeping with the week I've been having - I had to drive out to Beaverton and do the recordkeeping for my workday Friday. It was early morning Sunday when I pulled up outside the darkened house to round out a day full of soccer with a sleep.