Soccer spirit undampened by Hurricane Frances
|Mike Norman Realty forward Trevor Albers wins the race to the ball as teammate Morgan Greig and an unidentified player from Rotten Ralph's scramble to the ball during instructional league action at the Center.
Tuesday through Friday, Aug. 31-Sept. 3, was supposed to be a weeklong celebration to kick off the Anna Maria Island Community Center's fall soccer league. Games were completed through Thursday, but Frances washed out all of Friday's games and, with the season getting started next week and Hurricane Ivan now looming in the Caribbean, it doesn't appear likely the missed games will be made up.
All teams in four age groups were scheduled to play two mini-games, plus get in a practice game or two with uniforms and referees before the real season cranks up. Another big part of last week's scrimmage games was getting parents and fans fine-tuned on the nuances of properly supporting the team of their choice. Parents were instructed to wear team colors and bring anything that they thought would show support for their team.
Mike Norman of Mike Norman Realty fame, along with daughters Sally Greig and Mary-Anne Ellis, apparently were good listeners. Ellis' son Marlin and Greig's son Morgan both play for Mike Norman Realty, sponsored by grandpa. Neither Marlin, Morgan, or to be fair, the rest of the Mike Norman Realty soccer team had any difficulty figuring out which fans were supporting them.
Modified Mike Norman Realty signs with "Go Gillian" and "Go Mariah" and all the rest of the team player's names lined one end of the field. Throw in a cowbell, pompoms and some very enthusiastic and vocal fans - all decked out in Mike Norman red - and you've got yourself some soccer spirit!
If the Mike Norman Realty fans don't win the spirit week award at this year's soccer banquet, a full inquiry will be launched to find who's responsible and hold them accountable.
Though the sideline antics were entertaining, to say the least, the performance of the instructional league, some new and definitely young players, ages 5-7, was action packed as always. If you've never watched an instructional league game, you're missing out on some serious fun.
To begin with, the focus for this age group is to make sure the kids have fun and that they learn the basics of the game. Scores and standings aren't kept by the Center, though the majority of the players and parents know who won or lost. It just isn't the main focus of this young-player league.
Teams play with seven players and each team has a coach on the field to "direct traffic." Playing soccer is one of the most physically demanding sports around, but being the coach on the field during an instructional league game is equally challenging.
In the beginning of the season, the players all swarm to the ball, giving it the name of "bee ball." Every now and then the ball will squirt out from the swarm and the race is on again. As the season progresses, the players improve on their skills and knowledge of their positions, which spreads the field a little bit to make for some good soccer.
Hurricanes not withstanding, the season is starting for real next week, so put on your team colors and come on down to the Center and support your team.
Charity golf tourney still looking for sponsors
The Anna Maria Oyster Bar charity golf tournament to benefit the Center is still looking for sponsors for its always-anticipated golf tourney, which takes place on Friday, Sept. 17, at El Conquistador Country Club in Bradenton.
Red tee sponsorships are available for $250 and provides the sponsor with two tickets to a VIP cocktail party, signage on the course and an advertisement at the Anna Maria Oyster Bar Landside for two months following the tournament. Green sponsorships go for $150, which displays your business ad on the course the day of the tourney.
For more information, contact AMOB's Fred Hurley at 721-7773, or Gary Harkness at 792-0077.