Youth soccer and how the reward system is whacked

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There are plenty of examples to choose from but I will write about one that is near and dear to me. Not really.
I wrote about this team in another post. This is a team whose last year’s success was defined by one player. I don’t want to name names but for the sake of this post let’s call this player ‘Magalie’. They won their league, the cup and fell just short of winning nationals. Without ‘Magalie’ they definitely would not have achieved what they did. I did not watch one season game but u don’t need to be a math whiz to see that if u removed all of her stats the team record would have been drastically different. I did watch all their matches at nationals. Some a couple times. Watching those matches only confirmed what I already knew which is that the team isn’t really that good. During the matches ‘Magalie’ was off or shut down, the rest of the team had no solutions and were rendered ineffective. In the final, BC exposed them for what they are which is not very good (more later in this post). It was a one sided match and had BC had good finishers the score would have been a rout. In the end the team was awarded ‘team of the year’ and the coach got ‘coach of the year’. Deserving? Maybe on the team level, maybe, but coach? Why? Because he acquired a star player? Certainly not.
Anyway, flashback a few years when a certain coach was asked to take the reigns of a team that also had a ‘star’ player and that over the years was winning because of this star player. The only difference here was that once he accepted the coaching gig he was told that the star player, along with a 2nd star-ish player would be moved to the older team and that he’d have no access to them for the entire season. πŸ‘€… oh, I see what you did there Mr Technical Director! Ok, challenge accepted. Could this coach convince this team that they would be just fine without the star players? He sure did. He made them believe and they achieved greatness. Undefeated. First place. Championship. Was this achievement recognized? Hell no. At the very least, at the club level both team and/or coach should have been recognized. Instead the team’s achievement was actually played down by the club technical director. Played down!!! Why? He obviously expected the season to play out differently without the star player. And there lies the problem. The reward system is misplaced. What shouldn’t be rewarded is and what should, isn’t.
This season ‘Magalie’ was moved up to the older squad that over the last few seasons has been nothing better than a middle of the pack team. This year they are in first and have already qualified for nationals with games to spare. Coincidence? I think not. In all likelihood this means a team of the year and possibly a coach of the year. Again it begs the question… Deserving? No. Atleast not on the coach side.
Btw the team ‘Magalie’ played for last season now sits at middle of the pack with a .500 record this season. Remember this is the team that had one loss last season, won the division, cup and got to the finals at nationals. Coincidence? I think not. Just saying.

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@Marvel: Dear Russo Brothers, you done #Hulk dirty.

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I can’t take credit for my post title. It was actually my son who made this comment after the movie. I just borrowed it. Anyway, I don’t think I need to make this a lengthy post to get my point across.
After 2 subpar solo #hulk movies, the #avengers finally got the Hulk right with #Ragnarok also adding to the awesomeness that is the hulk. Then the Russo brothers happened and with the snap of their fingers they wrecked everything about the hulk. And they did it without the gauntlet.
I sat through a 2hr40min infinity war movie only to see a couple minutes worth of the hulk early on getting his ass kicked by thanos.
To say I came out of that movie dismayed is an understatement. I rationalized it in that hulk had alot of on screen time in ragnarok and I was totally convinced he would get his payback in endgame. That didn’t happen. The rumours were confirmed and in endgame, hulk became Professor Hulk. I will be honest I didn’t know what to make of it. It was weird hearing Ruffalo’s voice in the body of the Hulk. What I also didn’t expect was the nonsense that came along with him being professor Hulk.

If I was dismayed coming out of infinity war I really don’t know what word to use after sitting through a 3hr movie and witnessing the destruction of such a great marvel character occur before my eyes.
That scene where he grudgingly smashed the top of the car and barely tossed the motorcycle. WOW!!! Horrible. So Hulk now is a lover, not a fighter? Ridiculous! And finally to witness an epic battle scene versus Thanos where a significant amount of heroes took a shot at him and there is NO HULK AND THANOS SHOWDOWN!!!! What in the fucks, fuck is that all about? How does that not happen??? Pure and unadulterated fuckery is what it is.
Even in the comicbook world as Professor Hulk, he never shied away from a confrontation. Never. Hulk deserved a better sendoff. He deserved to finish with a bang! He was done in dirty. There is no better way to say it.

PS: the fact that his snap using the gauntlet brought everyone back does nothing to appease me. Nothing. Noone will be able to convince me this was the proper storyline for this iconic hero.

Here is a link of interest.. #3 specifically:

https://www.technobuffalo.com/5-things-missing-avengers-endgame-spoilers?amp&utm_source=tb_tw&utm_medium=tw_card&utm_content=73777&utm_campaign=social&__twitter_impression=true

Sunday morning coffee with a little musing: Captain Meh-val

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When it was first announced that we’d be getting a Captain Marvel movie starring Brie Larson I was very excited. Today, I really don’t know why. Growing up I never followed Ms Marvel nor prior to this movie had I watched any movie starring Brie Larson and I know she has a long list of accomplishments.

I don’t let any reviews or opinions sway me from going to watch a movie. Having said that the negative tweets leading up to the movie admittedly got me worried. However I made it a point of not reading the actual article attached to the tweets.

As I do all the time, i went to see captain marvel the first weekend it was released. To my surprise, the cinema was half empty. It could have been due to the time of day but still. There really isn’t much to say. The hype machine was definitely working overtime for this movie. I came out of the movie feeling kinda meh about it. It had some moments but for the most it is underwhelming. And honestly I could care less who the lead is.

Two of my favorite super heroes are Hulk and Spawn. Both Todd McFarlane and Ang Lee brilliant in their own right but those movies. What. In. The. Hell. Am I right? And to boot I am getting an uneasy feeling already about the next #Spawn movie.

After watching Captain Marvel I made it a point of watching youtube reviews and it’s crazy how much hate there is toward this movie and Brie Larson. By both men and women. There’s no doubt Brie shot herself in the foot with those ‘white men’ comments. She also tried to play down and even come across like she couldn’t remember exactly what she had said during an interview with a white man who literally mansplained to her how it was all overblown. That must have gone over well with Brie. Lol.
Anyway, everyone has an opinion and some I agree with, some I don’t. That’s how it works.
It was made clear from the get-go that this movie is a feminist movie but as a female reviewer put it, it wasn’t necessary to dumb down the men just to get the point across. And yes, there are some scenes where I just rolled my eyes. On the flip side, these same scenes were critiqued by a male reviewer as terrible because ‘what man would say that?’… uh, I don’t know what hole this guy is living in.

There are a couple things that irk me heading into endgame. Endgame should be about the original avengers but the timing of Captain Marvel makes me think that she’ll come in and be the answer to everything. The other thing is that annoying bit at the end of Captain Marvel that leads you to believe that the avengers initiative started with Carol ‘Avenger’ Danvers… bullshit.

I would love to see Hulk pull the stunt he did with Thor but on Captain Marvel just to bring her down to earth a little. 😁

Sunday morning coffee with a little musing: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck

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… it must be a duck!! Right πŸ˜‹? Over the years I have had only a passing interest in the Royal family. Like everyone else I was glued to the TV when princess Diana died but had almost zero interest in the wedding of her sons. Meghan Markle might change all that. I mean these stories that are coming out. Between her family drama, apparent friction with Kate and the staff that is quitting faster than Murphy Brown changes secretaries you can’t help but feel that there is ‘something’ to these rumours.
Only the Queen mother knows what’s really going on behind those palace doors but still … so much intrigue. Maybe her family isn’t as whack as they come across to be. And what’s the deal with all these folks leaving after years of service? There’s gotta be something to that, no? Is Meghan a diva? And if she is, what kinda crazy level diva is she?

Meghan Markle has reportedly been given the unflattering nickname ‘Duchess Difficult’ due to how demanding she is. The reports have emerged as a second aide of Meghan has announced she is to leave her role after the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s child in Spring. The Australian has been part of the royal staff for 17 years.

This is but a small sampling…

The latest rumour now has it that she’s faking her pregnancy. How crazy is this? Lol. I mean this is way beyond believing and crazier than the stuff I watched on X files. But the truth is out there. The question is, will it ever come out?

Anyway .. Just like the Nick and Pryanka marriage I am calling this a 5 year tops deal. I know that’s a little mean but atleast I am giving them more than the Justin and Hailey wedding 😁.

I definitely don’t want to fall into any conspiracy theories and what not but I feel like Meghan has this incredible ability to always be in actress mode and in the end wouldn’t it be like all sorts of crazy if she ends up duping everyone. This would be a great ‘made for TV’ movie, where she could play herself! Wouldn’t that be something.

Sunday morning coffee with a little musing: transparency and fair play

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Anyone who has been reading my posts might start to think I am having a hard time letting go πŸ˜‹. After many years I stepped back from youth soccer last season. However I still have a foot in the door because my daughter still plays competitively. My guess for many, including my daughter, is that it will their last year. I mean they’re going to turn 17 and for many there will be nowhere else to go after this so there is no incentive to continue.
Even though I am not active any more in any capacity information still finds its way to me. If it’s not through my daughter, it’s my wife or some other parent. I am truly glad that I am out of this toxic environment. Honestly wish I had done it sooner or better yet never.
Over the many years, no matter who the technical director was, as coaches we were always reminded of two things: transparency and fair play. I mean we were taught many things but these two items were drilled into our heads by the TD. The problem with this is that some technical directors are like πŸ“Ί evangelists. What’s that expression? Do as I say not as I do.
In an ideal world you are supposed to apply both at 100% but it’s impossible to do when the Technical Director himself doesn’t follow through on it either at 100%.
Here are two examples where both transparency and fair play can be applied.
1) as coaches we’re told never to guarantee a spot to a returning or new player during the tryout period.
2) As coaches we’re told that when it comes down to finalizing the roster and you have players with similar skills look to choose the player that showed commitment during the tryouts.
Easier said than done. It basically never happens.
Case in point this winter. There is a player on my daughter’s team who is a multi sport player. As a family they’ve made it clear for years now which sport that takes priority. It’s the other one πŸ˜‹. These past fews years they’ve shown very little commitment to soccer during the winter months. It’s hard to do when your other sport is hockey but at the same time there should be some degree of compromise which from what I gather there isn’t much of. Here’s the kicker. She was guaranteed a spot early on in the winter in writing (rookie mistake on the coach’s part) and while she has missed a significant amount of training sessions she continues to play full games. And these are just meaningless matches. Is she a great player? No. But I will say she is a decent soccer player. Having said that though there are better skilled players on this team that have shown more commitment that deserve a spot on the team ahead of her.
I coached this team four years ago and alot can and has happened since. I can tell you this much though. Four years ago during a winter tryout session I was pulled aside by the current technical director and was told to cut this player from the team. She was one of three he wanted me to cut. I chose not to cut any of the three. Again, I know that alot can change in four years but now, even for the technical director, she’s untouchable. There is something called principle and some folks have a hard time with that starting with the guy at the top.
I am sure some of you honed in on the fact that I had an opportunity to cut this player four years ago and didn’t. The explanation is pretty simple and straightforward. Going in as a first year coach with the team I made the decision beforehand that I would not cut any player. I wanted to give every player a chance to prove themselves during the summer season. At one point during the winter session a very skilled player from another club came wanting to tryout. When it came down to finalizing the roster, this new player deserved a spot and so I pleaded with the technical director to allow me to carry an extra player so I wouldn’t have to cut anyone. He wouldn’t have any of it so at the 11th hour I cut a player who was not as skilled and who for the better part of the winter tryout period was injured. A difficult decision but it was the correct decision.

Sunday Morning Coffee with a little musing: fake news, will it ever end?

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I feel like it’s a job in itself to try to muddle through the news that we are fed every day to see if there is any truth to it. It is so frustrating. The latest to irk the hell out of me is this confrontation between Nick Sandmann and Nathan Phillips. I, like everyone else, saw that initial video and like many i had the same repulsed reaction to it. I was appalled at this young man and his ridiculous smirk. There was alot of online reaction to it and as is always the case alot of reaction coming out of Hollywood types as well. Soon after this video went viral, because you know everything does, the mother of Nick spoke out stating that there were inaccuracies to the story and that her son was being wrongfully attacked. I am sure many rolled their eyes and thought, she’s a mom being a mom protecting her son. Soon after that, a longer video started to circulate adding validity to her claims. Eventually Nick spoke out as well reiterating that not all is what it seems. Anyway, the fact is that the longer video certainly paints a different picture. A narrative if you will. And that’s the bottom line, it’s all about the narrative. Edit a video to put out your narrative even if it means distorting some facts. Having said that, here are my 2 cents on this incident.
It takes two to tango. In this case there were actually 3 parties involved. There has to be a shared responsibility here. However, I don’t for one minute believe that Phillips was trying to egg on or instigate a confrontation by walking towards the youths. I also watched Sandmann’s interview on NBC. Since it took a few days for him do the TV gig you have to believe that he got prepped/guidance from his parents and lawyer on how to carry himself and what to say. Enough was said in the interview but i will focus on one point he made. He says his “smile” was his way of trying to defuse the situation. I don’t buy it. For one, it was a smirk and not a smile. He smirked while his school mates cheered him on in the background. His ego was being stroked and he was reveling and loving every minute. He certainly came across as holier than thou who saw Phillips as being beneath him. A sense of entitlement. No manipulation or editing of any video will change my mind on this.
Anyway, do you know how someone who really wanted to defuse that situation would go about it? You turn around and walk away and tell your school mates to follow suit. That’s how you do it.

Finally, i could care less about what cap he was wearing. I grew up Catholic but this is a different kind of catholic that’s for sure.

I follow many a stars on twitter, one is @Alyssa_Milano.. she wrote a piece on this incident. You can find it here: https://www.thewrap.com/alyssa-milano-red-hats-maga-hats-in-trumps-america-its-not-enough-to-not-be-a-racist/. It shocks me to read the vitriol comments she gets on her IG account. Mad respect to her though for being so relentless.

Sunday morning coffee with a little musing: ‘professional child men’, football edition.

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Before I get into my rant I will mention that there are always two sides to every story. All of my posts are opinion pieces. This one is no different.
This season the steelers had some drama to contend with. They started the season with one distraction and ended with another. Le’veon Bell held out at the beginning of the season and in the end failed to report on time and therefore was no longer eligible to play. Antonio Brown was benched for the final game of the season for some altercation during a practice. It’s not the first time he’s created drama as well.
As it the case with everyone on this planet, we must take care of our own well being. Both Bell and Brown are doing that. They feel they’ve been wronged and they chose not to accept that. Fine. Here’s my beef though, do you have to be babies about it? Literally man children and quite honestly I blame social media especially twitter for giving these pros a platform to be man children. Bell on many occasions used twitter to imply (whether through emojis, cryptic tweets or stupid one liners) that he was coming back while going completely dark on his teammates. In the end he did not. He messed with people’s emotions and that’s not cool. And please let’s not argue that it wasn’t premeditated. It was. On a side note yet somewhat related, I was unfortunate enough to draft Bell in my fantasy football league this year but thanks to my shrewd managerial skills I won the championship in spite of that so screw youuuu Le’veon Bell!!! No resentment here at all πŸ˜‹. Brown also decided to take a page out of Bell’s PlayBook and hopped onto twitter to put out these cryptic tweets that just do nothing but show the level of immaturity of some of these professional players. Steelers TE Jesse James said it best, the steelers were worse than the Kardashians this year. On the news for all the wrong reasons.

The sad thing is that both these players have been problematic in the past and you would think no team would want to touch them. That assumption would be wrong. There are teams willing to take that chance.

PS: I am not a steelers fan.