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Monday, March 04, 2024

Summer is a hard time for sports fans. As the NBA and NHL playoffs come to a close, fans are left trying to subsist off of the meager pickings of summer sports.

Baseball is mentally draining to follow, especially if you weren’t lucky enough to enlist in a fantasy baseball league back in April. And the WNBA? Not a worthwhile sport, as proven by the Bill Simmons’ Lincoln Test.

If you were given the choice of having your favorite WNBA team win a championship or finding a five-dollar bill, you’re going with Abe Lincoln.

Luckily, there’s one event this year that throws a dash of excitement into the summer sports doldrums, one where soccer teams from all over converge to play each other. I’m talking, of course, about Disney’s Memorial Day Soccer Shootout, where my little sister was competing this past weekend.

My family made the pilgrimage to Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex to watch the spectacle. While the event was admittedly short on excitement and athletic skill, I was able to make a few observations.

First, the majority of youth soccer parents are decent people, but the bad apples easily ruin the whole time for everyone. There’s nothing quite like watching a full-grown father nearly have a conniption fit yelling at his daughter. When some father is yelling at his increasingly tired daughter the painfully obvious directions on how to play a sport the adult has never played, it’s column material. Some high decibel gems from this weekend: “Score a goal!”; “Kick the ball!”; “Get her!”; “If you don’t make a goal, we’re not feeding you tonight!”

My family and I are a bunch of degenerates. My sister’s team was playing two games in one day on Saturday, so naturally we decided to stock our cooler with well-concealed beer.

However, Disney doesn’t allow glass or alcohol in coolers, or so said the gatekeeper. However, the stalwart sentry (Mouseketeer?) made the mistake of trusting my mother when she said neither material was in our cooler.

In short, my mother lied twice. I’m thinking this means that she can no longer lecture me on anything, ever (Mom’s note: Yeah, right). Also, nobody seems to find it weird when you’re drinking “water” out of red Solo cups.

Unfortunately, my sister’s team was knocked out in the semifinals. I’m nearly certain the other team cheated, though. Disney’s age verification policies must be as lax as their alcohol security, because some of the girls on the “14 and under” team looked so old they had started to grow facial hair. I might have taken their center back to the senior prom.

As you’ve grown to expect from me, dear readers, I found a bright side to this harrowing Memorial Day weekend foray into the world of youth soccer. I told my sister I would buy her ice cream if she scored a goal, and she was shut out the whole tournament. I saved four bucks and taught my sister a valuable lesson: Only winners get ice cream.

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