Trying To Understand ‘The Beautiful Game’
I will admit that I’m not much of a soccer fan. Like many fathers I coached for a time when my children played but I was clearly one who was better off telling the kids what to do rather than show them. Actually I was better off having other coaches who knew what to do.
As far as being a spectator well I guess I’ve never learned to appreciate what many call “the beautiful game.” I know in other parts of the world soccer (or football if you like) is HUGE and yes I’m aware that it has grown in popularity here especially with the success of the U.S. Women’s National team because the men’s team has been a bit of a bust. And yes it do love to watch the World Cup because I’m fascinated by the passion shown by fans in rooting for their country as each game is a mini version of the Super Bowl.
Over the years I’ve followed local high school teams for various reasons and while I’ll never been an expert I know what it means when someone says “that’s a good ball” or they have to do a better job “marking a player.” It’s sort of like being able to say a few words in Spanish. It allows you to be in the conversation for a minute or two and then you’re gone.
With that said I will profess to having a rooting interest in the Toms River South Boys team which on the surface is not very professional considering I’m supposed to be neutral in my position as Director of the Shore Sports Network. However I can make a case that it’s only natural because both my children graduated from South and I happen to have some good friends who work there as teachers and coaches.
Speaking of the coaches that in itself is a great story. Ed Leibe had to step down as head coach after experiencing some health problems just before the season began and he ended up switching roles with longtime assistant Ron Laycock for this season, a move that has worked well and allowed Leibe to stay very much in the game with a bit less stress.
Another reason for my rooting interest is many of the kids grew up playing in the Beachwood Soccer Club, an organization I’ve been involved with for well over 20 years. Among them is senior Cameron Geerinck whose family has been our next door neighbors and more importantly friends since before he was born. I would like to take some credit for his success but truthfully the only thing I ever did was throw the ball back over the fence when it landed in our backyard.
Cameron, an outstanding student and terrific young man extended his school record with his 28th goal of the season last night as the Indians edged Ocean 1-0 in the Group 3 semifinals at Toms River North. The maroon and white play Mendham Sunday at 12:30 in the state final at Kean University and will try and duplicate the efforts of the 2009 team which was led by Dan Chrashewsky who is now the school’s athletic trainer. Sounds like a bit of déjà vu all over again.