Blogging Frankly / Sports

Blogging frankly: Kicking around a little soccer

There can’t be a more bizarre sport than soccer.

What other sport offers beer at youth tournaments? Well, they did at the Show-Me Showdown in St. Charles, Mo., last weekend, a tournament my daughter’s team played in (and won). What good could possibly come out of angry dads seeing their daughters losing a U11 championship game and getting pushed around by a tiny 65-pound midfielder, while guzzling some booze?

Nothing. One guy had eyes like this dude. I suppose it’s possible he was Cookie Monster’s dad, but the cup of ale in his hands said otherwise.

Two dads were ejected for idiotic behavior, and the game was halted for five minutes. You read that right. A U11 girls soccer game in suburban St. Louis was delayed for five minutes because of idiots. Hard to say who the bigger buffoon is. Those guys or this guy.

You just never know what you’ll see in soccer, whether it’s embarrassing behavior at your kid’s game, or the greatest save ever.

What are we seeing so far in Jayhawk Conference soccer? So far, the same old, same old. Butler, Hutchinson, Johnson County and Barton are winning. And winning. And winning some more. Some minor surprises coming from Coffeyville and Dodge City, but don’t expect anything to change among the top four teams.

It’s hard to say which team is the class of the conference right now. Butler, the reigning conference champ, is off to a 6-1 start against a tough schedule. The Grizzlies have played just two Kansas teams so far, an 11-0 smashing of Kansas City but only a 4-0 win at Hesston.

Undefeated Hutchinson has a young team, but you can’t deny the talent. Problem is, the talent is there only some of the time. Hutchinson might beat Johnson County by four goals on its best day, but lose to Barton by four goals on its worst.

Johnson County will forever be the team you don’t want to see in the postseason, mainly because of longtime coach Jim Schwab. (By the way, it’s unfortunate the Hutchinson-Johnson County game is in Overland Park this year. With Schwab and Hutchinson coach Sammy Lane both in the ears of the referees that game, it’s gonna be something.)

Barton has won four straight in conference play – against some lesser teams – but has drawn raves from Lane.

Regardless, you know that there will be something at stake when Hutchinson and Butler play Oct. 11 in Hutchinson. The best rivalry in the Jayhawk Conference (in any sport) has a new twist this year. My aforementioned soccer-playing daughter has become fond of Sammy Lane the last couple years. His brash, blunt and energetic coaching style makes for an entertaining show that Josie enjoys, but more important to Josie, Lane treats her well. Has her warm up with the team before the second half sometimes. Compliments her on her soccer skills. Offers her pointers.

Butler’s coach is Adam Hunter. One of his daughters is Josie’s teammate. They both play primarily outside midfield and enjoy hanging out during out-of-town tournaments. They’re teammates and friends. Hunter has coached Josie’s team a time or two. His family also sacrificed his daughter’s spot on the team last spring (for just the spring season) to allow Josie to join team about 10 months ago.

Poor Josie. She’s right smack in the middle of this bitter rivalry.

You just never know what’s going to happen in soccer.


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