Ahh, football for under-sevens. The swarming instinct, as every kid on the team tries to kick the ball at the same time. Like ants around a crumb. Sometimes the ball makes its way out of the swarm and lies innocently on the field for whole minutes before someone realises that it isn't at the centre of their skirmish. Amazing, as the ball is almost as big as them.
The after-match commentary: "Guess what!! I scored two goals and they were BOTH ACCIDENTS!" "Wow, honey, cool!" "What, you didn't SEE?? You didn't take a PICTURE??!"
Alas, Mum was not paying that much attention. She was huddled under a shady umbrella with other like-minded Mummies and Daddies, drinking iced coffee, while the more energetic parents charged around the field getting red in the face yelling "Andrew! Move up! TACKLE HIM! TACKLE HIM! Allll right, you're fine, get up! FOUL! REF!!!"
There is NO WAY to tell who is winning, especially if you plan on asking one of the footballers. "WE WON! SIX NIL!" comes the happy cry from both sides of the pitch, and there are congratulations and pats on the back all around. They are so pleased with themselves, they have had a ball, and the only people not completely thrilled are the competitive Mummies and Daddies. They are still over on the field, arguing with the teenaged Referee.
Over on the other end of the stadium, the under-ten teams are exhibiting some serious cool. They have the skills required to win: the "Roll-Around-Clutching-Your-Shin-And-Grimacing" Move, the "Punch-The-Air", the Victory Wiggle. They can do the bicycle kick with fall-down, and the fact that the ball has shot off in the wrong direction does not detract from the fact that THAT was a Seriously Cool Move! They are keeping score very seriously, and those who have been taught the noble art of Referee-Bashing by their parents are throwing their weight around and arguing while their teammates play on.
I am aware that there are "Serious" Football Schools out there, for whom "having fun" is not the number one priority. And maybe, if one of my kids was a "gifted footballer", I would encourage them to join one of those teams. But I am happy with our little group of boys and girls in blue, and so are they. Very happy.