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Should I Worry?!?!

by Best Homes Team

Hola Friends & Neighbors,

I found this cartoon pasted to my refrigerator this past week.  Only my wife could have placed it there.


Should I be worried about this?!?!?

Who Let the Dogs Out!!!

by Best Homes Team

It is early Monday morning; still dark, yet I’m awake. My wife & kids are fast asleep upstairs as I attempt to put my thoughts into words here to be posted for anyone who is interested in the subject matter of...
Not just ‘soccer’, but rather 8 year old girls’ soccer.  Mighty Dogs Soccer!!!
I was awakened this morning after a dream slipped through my mind. As I slumbered, somehow an image of a game schedule crossed over my subconscious brain. I was convinced that, somehow, I’d misread the original schedule and the girls’ soccer team I coach had another month of games remaining, leading right up to Christmas Day. I must say I was overjoyed.
Now I am awake, caught in (semi)cognizant thought. I realize, of course, that the season has ended and there are no more games. It was only a dream, conjured in the id and now a fleeting memory. Yet how I wish it wasn’t a dream.
Last Saturday I awoke as usual. I descended the stairs and put away the dishes as the coffee gurgled into the pot, then, after pouring a cup I booted-up my laptop and sat down on the couch to settle into my normal Saturday morning ritual.
I checked the San Diego surf reports, realizing I could go surfing as I had no commitments for the morning. I clicked to the local fishing update and the report was favorable; maybe a little fishing today? There was some work at the office that was not pressing, but would occupy my time if nothing else came up. Some Holiday decorating perhaps to fill my time…
As I searched to things to do the reality of my dilemma slowly came upon me; I was having soccer withdrawal. It was the cruelest kind of sensory deprivation. For 11 weeks I had risen early on Saturdays to set my lineups for that day’s game. After making breakfast for the kids we’d be off to the field for games or reviewing film of the prior week’s game (shot by Coach Scott Morris, his wife Lisa, or John Widay – thanks so much for this – the review of film will be mentioned later) or even a bit of work on ball handling skills in the front yard with the kids.
Last Saturday I had none of the above. Sure, I could have gone surfing, or fishing, or even worked at the office, but I didn’t want to do any of those things. I wanted soccer!  I wanted to lead my team onto the field to test the mettle of my 8 year old girls against our opponents.
This season was the most rewarding yet for me as a coach, and I hope, too, for the girls whose parents have allowed me the privilege of coaching their young ladies. I love to win – that has been evident in the success we’ve had in our prior soccer campaigns, but more importantly, I love to improve.
This season, above all others, we had the opportunity to improve.
Improvement is why I do this. Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of my players as individuals and then the team as a whole, then working toward the improvement of each player and thereby the team as a whole is incredibly rewarding.
I must face it – at a few months shy of 50, I’m old. Not tottering (yet) but still, my days of glory on the field have passed. These young ladies give me the opportunity to live vicariously through them. I feel with them; their victories and their defeats, their valleys and peaks in practice, and their joy at the incremental mastering of the game bit-by-bit. I too am learning; I never played soccer in my youth, let alone coached the game before taking over this group of kids. Often I find myself baffled as to the direction needed for the girls to get by the roadblocks they find in the path to their individual progress.
I am incredibly thankful for internet soccer tutorials, Crusader's Soccer Club coaching clinics, and coaching DVD’s. Equally, our entire entourage of players, parents, and coaches must be grateful for the video of the games provided by Coach Scott, his wife Lisa, and John Widay. These videos allowed us to dissect the play of individuals and the team and enable us to help the girls become better players. 
The Mighty Dogs (the girls picked this name – not the coaches) started the season mildly overconfident. In their last campaign as a group they’d gone undefeated through their school league and I think they just assumed they’d win easily. The first game of the season quickly dispelled these assumptions as they were tied when time expired. The fact that the league was contracting and the other teams were getting better became evident. My ‘Dogs won a few, then lost handily to another team of inspired young girls.
At midseason, an opportunity, or better stated – a challenge, was presented to the young ladies of the Mighty Dogs. They could be a mediocre team that got together for practice once a week then played a game on Saturday for fun, or they could become a group focused on learning and improving. As coaches, we put the challenge forward to them and they responded. 
We coaches reviewed the videos of our games and figured out what our girls needed work on, then we implemented drills on those skills in practices. Without going into excessive detail we figured out that our girls were losing the individual battles for the ball too often, our passing was weak, and we were being outrun. Practices became more competitive, and the girls answered the call. Their skills improved as individuals, but more importantly something in them clicked. They became committed to one another; to putting forth greater effort so as not to let their teammates down.
The Mighty Dogs came back in the second half of the season and played inspired soccer.
The tenacity and fortitude of the ‘Dogs players manifested itself to an even greater degree in their second meeting with the only team to defeat them in the first series of games. While there were some supreme individual efforts in that game, each and every ‘Dog contributed to the best of their ability. The Mighty Dogs’ girls won the individual battles for the ball, they proved to be faster, they passed better, but most importantly they played for each other. I could see it in their eyes – yes, they wanted it, but more importantly they didn’t want to let their teammates down. It was a hard-fought 2-1 victory.   
The Mighty Dogs finished the season 6-2-1 in league play, and 1-1 against the upper division opponents. There was a heartbreaking 1-0 league loss for the girls against a team that they did not have the opportunity to play again, but that was just how the scheduling went. The ‘Dogs were disappointed that they did not get another shot at retribution.
The 2008 Mighty Dogs Team after our last victory of the season!
Was this the best campaign for a team I’ve coached? The final record, while admirable and among the best in the league, would not say so. Yet I think it was. The contraction of the league has made the division more competitive; the top players from other teams are bonding together, and frankly, I think they’re gunning for our girls. Sure, they’re just little girls, but our team is remembered as they take the field each game as the girls who win. That adds a bit of extra motivation for the team on the other side of the ball. There is always a certain respect for us, and always a bit of extra joy on the opposing sideline when a team has good outing against my girls.
I take it as a compliment to our success as a team. While the other teams are contracting and improving, our girls remain, for the most part, the same group. They are seen as an elite team every year. They do so with constant improvement and hard work; not by adding better players.
So, I felt the season was quite a success.  We improved.  Coaches and players figured out what we needed to do and implemented those changes. A mid-season challenge was put forth to these young ladies; did they want to be just another team, or did they want to be elite? They answered that question admirably in the second half of their season.
I’m proud of my ‘Dogs. It was, once again, an honor and a pleasure to be their coach. They had a great season, and once again amazed me with their play, toughness, fortitude, and their ability and desire to learn.
Now, I just have to figure out what I’m gonna do on Saturdays!
Special thanks to Coach Scott, Coach Alan, Coach Chris, Coach Will, Team Mom Linda Justice (who put together a great season ending party for the girls), and all the parents who supported the ‘Dogs in their season. I hope to see you all next year!

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Photo of Best Homes Team by Rob Northrup Real Estate
Best Homes Team by Rob Northrup
Best Homes Team CA BRE#: 00938658
2552 Fletcher Parkway
El Cajon CA 92020
Fax: 619-463-1427