Loyal readers may remember that I was helping out as an assistant coach with my daughter's under-8 team last year. Well, I'm back at it again, but this weekend I got the chance to rest my poor ragged throat (those with experience herding cats coaching U-8's may sympathize) and just play spectator when her coach from last year called her up to the U-10 team for a tournament as cover for missing players.

Considering that my daughter just turned 7 (and a small 7 at that), she held her own pretty well. But one moment actually had me out of my folding chair with a fist pump and the proverbial merde-munching grin.

Witness. She's the smallest girl on the field by at least four inches. A thumped clearance finds her on the right wing. She gets it under control, turns and starts on a dribbling run tracked by that girl. You know her (or him) from your own playing days. Perhaps you were him/her. A couple inches on the rest, most of it locked up in legs that give him/her a freakishly long stride for a nine year old. And an understanding of the game and positioning to boot. She's in midfield, breaking up every attack, feeding her wings, hitting shots from distance, taking every throw/corner/free kick. Dominating.

Anyway, this giant (she has at least a foot on my girl) starts closing down my daughter's run. Sensing her coming, but not afraid of big opponents (she's been playing with me since she could kick a ball), my girl does her "cut back" move just as this giantess gets in front and makes the move to cut her off. Wham! Giantess shoots past, turns and charges back. My girl, head up, sees the star forward of her team and delivers precisely with the inside of her yellow boot.

I know for most parents, goals are the big moments of pride. For me? It doesn't matter that the star forward then took three touches and lost possession. I'd had my moment.

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