Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WRHS Chess Club Beginning!

Chess Club Starts tomorrow, afterschool, room c214, and every Thursday!
         Everyone at school is excited for Chess Club to begin.  Since soccer coaching ended for me on Monday at WRMS, I guess its now chess season for the rest of the year.  I in fact coached two teams, the WRMS and a 1st grade Blaine County Recreation team.  Both were over-loaded teams.
My second team of 1st graders

         But, to show you some of my "busy-ness" with WRMS Soccer, I have some game recaps.   It was an amazing season with over 40 kids participating on this one team until this last week when about 7 quit because of bad grades or lack of playing time.  Soccer, or Futbol as known the world over, is the next best thing to chess.  In fact, the second largest organization in the world is FIDE and the largest organization is FIFA.  It is a game played with 11 players.  Our record was dismal due to the frequent substitutions I was forced to make, but I usually played with starters until I was sure that we could win, then I would begin substitutions for the rest of the game.  Fortunately, I did not bring everyone.  I only rostered 20-25 players for each game.  Our record was 4-7-1.  The following is an excerpt from a 23-page booklet I made for each player that included team stats, individual stats, individual pictures, and excerpts from assignments during the season (Pre-season Thoughts, Soccer Heroes, and End-of-Season Reflection).
The mustaches represent some of the kids we played against that actually had mustaches!  We were the smallest (size-wise) in the league. 

Game Summaries: 
Vs. O’Leary (A)         2 – 2    Tie
            Our first game started off to a great start with our team owning the ball for the first 15 minutes of the game with O’Leary scrambling to even touch it.  In the first 8 minutes, Michael dropped the ball and it hammered into the net by Joey  from well outside the eighteen yard line.  Within another 5 minutes, Danny Graves headed the ball in after a corner kick from Joey.  Our team was on fire!  But, a 2-nil lead going into half time caused the WRMS team to relax and defensive errors on marking forwards (Don’t forget Goal-side/Inside!) allowed O’Leary to tie the game up.  Last ditch efforts from our forwards to regain the lead produced some spectacular shots, break-aways and opportunities that kept the crowd bitting their  nails.  Michael  will remember to take an extra touch on some breaks and Jack will remember the cross-bar for the rest of the season.  Great game to start the season!

Vs. Bliss (A)   6 – 3    Win
            This was a solid game that offered all the WRMS opportunities to develop their skills.  The score was 2-0 at half time and there was little to say about the game other than to continue to the forward push but offer drop balls to the midfield and defense as the penalty area becomes packed with bodies.  Both Jack, Michael, and Irvin pushed forward often causing the Bliss defense to scramble.  Once the drop balls began, it was open season on the Bliss goal with Steven cracking a goal of the year rip that practically made the goalie move out of the way, rather than step in front of the ball.  Michael was smeared all over the penalty area in a horrendous foul that gave Jack a pk opportunity.  Nathan returned the favor in the second half providing Bliss with a pk.
Chess is a favorite past time while waiting for our game to start (girls  play first)

Vs. Jerome (H)           2 - 6     Loss

            If you ignore the first two minutes and subtract our own goal, it was a 3-2 game!  WRMS struggled to maintain composure and pressure on the ball after the aggressive and fast pace Jerome team.  But in the second half, Jerome only had 4 shots the second half and they ran out of steam, though they scored three more times.  They were offsides 9 times in the second half indicating that the WRMS defense really figured out how to shut down their relentless attacks.   Next game, we will trap the ba-jesus out of them.

Vs. Robert Stuart (H) 0 – 6    Loss
            This was a one man show for #6 – on the Robert Stuart side of the equation!  WRMS was playing with a mixed group of 7th and 8th graders, while Robert Stuart kept their 8th graders in the entire game.  They also kept #6 in the entire game to continue to destroy.  This one player played in the backfield by running down our forwards.  He controlled the mid-field and practically passed to himself on offense.  Despite the five goals by our African-American friend, we began attacking in the second half and had some unlucky crossbars.  Maybe the net next time Joey Reidy!

Vs. Bliss (H)    7 – 0    Win 

            They say paybacks are a bitch and it is unfortunate that we would happen to play Bliss the day after our worst loss in history.  This game featured Bliss having only three different stats the entire game – a foul, a corner kick, and 6 goal kicks.  The coaches finally decided to play a starting lineup this game which produced successes with overlap, drop-balls, and wall-passes.  WRMS moved around comfortably and quickly.  Alex Leon debuted in his first game and scored a hatrick.  Welcome to the team, Alex.  Other goals included Michael, Danny, and Yuri.

Vs. Wendell (A)          1 - 3     Loss 

            Ever seen a do-over throw-in?  Well, the refereeing was very sub-par and they even missed an offside goal by Wendell in the first half.  I always say you have to play better than the refs.  It was a weird day for WRMS as we played mostly in the mid-field and on the defensive third of the field.  Our best opportunity occurred in the second half when Matt and his long legs were able to get a shot off.  Another chance came late in the game with Keegan taking a nice shot from a cross by Yuri.  But, it hooked left and Wendell got a goal kick for our efforts.  Yuri and Danny tried to fire up our team and aggressively pressuring most balls midfield.  Our team left Wendell with 6 fouls, 1 yellow card, virtually no shots, 1 goal from Alex, and Wendell’s coach and refereeing staff with smiles.

Vs. Commies (H)        2 - 3     Loss

     This was the heart-breaking game of the season.  WRMS did everything right and pretty much out-played the Commies as a team.  The Commies had a superb goalie that stopped all our attacks in the first half saving 2 goals that the “short-stack” produced – Jack, Yuri, and Mikey.  In the second half, their goalie entered as a mid-fielder and essentially tipped the tables with great through-balls and a half field goal against Matt who could not reach high enough.  Bummer of a loss.  It is amazing to me that one player in middle school soccer can have such a dramatic effect on the outcomes of the game.  Where are our super-stars?

 Vs. O’Leary (H)         2 - 1     Win

            O’Leary and WRMS always play very even during their games.  We also play very similarly and the games tend to be close, back-and-forth, and very exciting.  Our guys are smaller than every team we play and so we looked like wet puppies during this game against some towering players in the defense and forward positions of O’Leary.  Despite the rain, Michael was running hard and scored during the first half.  In the second half, Zach stepped up from stopper and shot several times from outside the eighteen but could not capitalize to seal the game.  That job was up to Alex Leon.  Great game, bad refs.  Remember that the ball has to come into play from a throw-in to be a bad one, and if you call it on one team, a repeat by the other team must be called.

Vs. Commies (A)        0 - 2     Loss 
            The short and small field paid dividends for the Community School.  Once again, horrible reffing scored an offside goal and missed some critical calls that could have turned the tables.  The star Commie player took a free kick and scored from mid-field again and WRMS just could not score despite being in the Commie penalty area.  How many times can we get called for offsides, hit the crossbar, or the keeper in a game?  We dominated possession and every stat I record, but the planets were not in alignment and we lost. 

Vs. Jerome  (A)          4 - 6     Loss
            Three to two at half is a great result for our team against the toughest team in the league.  But for the love of Pete, where do these referees come from?  This ref was inconsistent and afraid to make the big calls.  As Michael gets crushed by a forearm, the ref asks him if he is alright and doesn’t make a call!  Insult to injury, Jack is squashed in the penalty area, the ref comes over and asks him if he is alright and then awards us a corner kick?  Really, people?  Heads hanging in the late second half, Jerome scores three goals.

Vs. Robert Stuart (A) 7 - 3     Win
            Wow!  We arrived on their homecoming and spirit week.  Their players gave us the "tunnel of love" as we stepped off the bus, but we were ready to scorn them after the nasty spanking we got on our home field.  We thought we were in for a horrible game when it was 0 -2 in the first 10 minutes.  But, some critical pointers and loud barking by yours truly began to sink in and suddenly flood gates were open and goals began flowing.  There were drop-balls, overlaps, and a wonderful combination from Danny across field to Alex who one-touched back across the field to Michael who one touched it into the goal!  I also think that the excellent refereeing had something to do with it – the best of the year with equal and consistent calls!  You wouldn’t think we had a losing season after the way we have been playing.

Vs. Wendell  (H)         1- 3      Loss
            Wendell came and played.  We came to substitute.  I was able to substitute all 29 players in our last game.  Mikey had a great header goal from a corner. 

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