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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Cornicopia: The World’s Sport

Cornicopia: The World’s Sport

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The referee blew the whistle.  Someone kicked the ball, and they were off and running. Some went left.  Some went right. And after the dust settled, a couple of the kids just stood there.  The pounding of little feet running up and down a field in what often looks like an unorganized kindergarten fire drill (after all, they are rookies) means that it’s soccer season.  Calls of encouragement and instructions echo from the sidelines as anxious parents watch every play through rose-colored glasses.   

My great-granddaughter four-year-old Cooper Marie Cohn, who lives in Austin, is playing her first year of soccer on a team that has ten little kids ages four to five.  The Blue Jays is the name of her team, and it’s just one of many sponsored by the YMCA in Buda.  They play wearing either a red or gray jersey, depending on the game day.  A couple of weeks ago on a damp, windy field in Buda, the Blue Jays were on the field and began their run for a goal.  Cooper broke out of the pack and headed for the net.  Avoiding other kicking feet, managing not to trip over her own feet, she slowed up right in front of the net.  Tension mounted!  Then with one precise swift kick of her little foot – shod in bright blue cleats with orange laces – it was TOR.  Another Lauren Holiday or Carli Lloyd in the making?  

Don’t know for sure which team finally won the game -score keeping is a bit lax – but it’s always fun to watch all the little people playing and interacting with their teammates.  You have to admire their tenacity and sportsmanship, even if the rules of the game are still a bit fuzzy to them.  Cooper has been fortunate to have her big brother give her some pointers and teach her some moves.  Parker has been playing the game for about eight years and has become a serious competitor.  

Soccer is not one of my favorite sports, but back in 1984 I did go to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas to watch Germany defeat a team from South Korea in the World Cup games.  There are an estimated 265 million people in the world who play soccer in 200 nations, and the stadiums are usually full of their fans.  I have no idea how many soccer players there are in Texas, but I do know that there are ten little kids in Texas who are making a run of it, and they have a loyal group of fans.   

Soccer, or fussball as it’s know in Europe, is believed to be similar to a game known as cuju, or kick ball.  There are some lovely paintings of children playing cuju as early as the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD).

If you are a newbie to soccer, here are a few terms you may want to learn: wall-pass, spot kick, scissors kick, bicycle kick, booter, fifty-fifty-ball, dead ball, and mark.  Then there are the yellow and red cards to keep you counting.  If you are in Germany to watch a game, look out for Die Ampelkarte (the traffic light card), which is the second yellow card before the red one. Die Mannschatt (the team) will Gehen Sie fur den Ball (go for the ball) and hope Ein Tor schiessen (to score a goal). And every team wants Die Traumtor (the dream goal).   

When watching a bunch of kids play soccer on a rough field in Texas, or watching  the pros play on a bright green field of grass on television, remember: Es ist nur ein Spiel (it’s only a game).  But it is the world’s sport!

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