I enjoyed talking to everyone that came up before the game. I may not be the best conversation starter, but it was good to be welcomed and I enjoyed hearing the stories. Then once the word got out that Amy and I had visited then I enjoyed talking to the second wave of people too. The biggest reason I miss soccer was the relationships that you build with everyone. It’s not that I just left a soccer team, I left 60 friends, not including the 5 years of alumni that I’d coached.
The JV played really well. They had played 1 less game than the varsity, but you wouldn’t know it from watching. They are continuing their undefeated streak, which dates back to before last year. They played real well and showed how strong the future of Newton soccer can be. I was proud of them. They are also going through a coaching change, losing the best JV soccer coach in the history of JV soccer coaches. I guess that’s what 1 undefeated season does for you. The girls don’t have to worry about having 40 people on JV this year since he platoons the rosters, not allowing girls that aren’t getting much Varsity time to also play JV. Which leads to a much more competitive, developmental team. Instead of conflicting interests between the teammates like we experienced the last couple years. The JV definitely set the tone for the night and played well.
I was trying to figure out where the varsity players were before the game, I guess they were hiding out in the locker room before the game staying warm. Which wasn’t a bad idea on this cold night, but they didn’t come out for warm ups until the JV game was basically over. Not that our warm up during the JV game really did anything, but I felt better that they were at least moving around and getting acclimated to the weather and atmosphere.
The”Night at the Roxbury” themed, star-stretch-warm up. I couldn’t believe they were kicking their feet to the music. In my opinion the pregame music went from an intimidating, feel good vibe, to a 70’s beach party in some kind of a Will Farrel movie. I’m not so sure I’m a big fan of the new look, but I’m kinda weird about what I like in pregame anyways. IMO (since this is MY blog), it should be more of a intimidation, get ready to get your ass whooped atmosphere. And mental prep, than actually warming up and looking pretty. Sure I’ve played some Spice Girls, NSync, & other goofy music, but I felt it made us individuals and confident in our goofiness. (Which I guess could go for the Night at the Roxybury, too.) So the whole 10 minutes they had to warm up must have been enough. I wouldn’t say they were slow out of the blocks. We started the game with an early lead on the #2 team in the state. Norwalk was also #2 when we defeated them last year. The game went as expected, it was pretty back and forth, no one was really dominate. Norwalk eventually tied the score and it seemed like we were just uncomfortable with everything. There were quite a few times people were out of place and timing was off. It wasn’t like it was certain people, it was more like a team adjustment needed made or something. I couldn’t really put my finger on it. We did have some good opportunities and had some good possessions. Our defense also played well. Then Norwalk was able to score what turned out to be the game winner. We were held to less than 2 goals, which didn’t happen much if at all last year. I’m trying to think, I can’t think of a game, win or lose that we scored less than 2. Norwalk’s best defensive player was out and midfielder graduated, so they were definitely vulnerable. I didn’t think Norwalk was as strong as they have been in the past, but I will give them credit, they find a way to win no matter who they are playing or what they are up against. And they were the better team on the field that day. That’s hard for me to admit. Hopefully we will both make it far enough and get matched up at State. I wouldn’t mind knocking them off after they most likely ruined our chances of a conference championship.
I got a chance to catch up with a few parents after the game, which is always nice. I’m glad people care where I’m at and what’s going on in my life. Many people asked if I was coaching somewhere, I guess that means I should get back into it. I’m not sure what I’m waiting for. I also talked to a few girls after the game. They all are so competitive, I guess that’s why we got along so well. After talking to them, it’s really puts into perspective the changes some of them are dealing with, especially some of the seniors. I also got a chance to hang out with one of the biggest fans, the Dave Man. Coincidentally Dave had the same name as one of the officials, which one of the Norwalk fans felt needed pointed out after 1 of the few calls that went our way. That’s another thing, I couldn’t complain much about the refs as a coach, but I’ll let them have it now. We don’t get the best refs for our games sometimes. A few aren’t bad, but they are few and far between. So the Dave man and I waited around to have a brief word with the coach. Yeah, right, brief my ass. An hour later he was just getting done with the press. So we had a good little talk, I enjoy being kept in the loop. It’s really nice that he’s been so open with me. Something that can be hard when you’re trying to make changes happen. I’ll have more on chats with the coach and I should probably make a special dedication to the Dave Man sometime, I like that guy.