The boy approaching the soccer goal took a hard shot to the far upper corner from close range. Our goalie launched himself horizontally into midair to block it and just managed to graze it with his fingertips. The contact was enough to stop the forward progress of the ball, but left it perched dangerously right in front of the goal, just waiting for a tap-in from another opponent in a game that was already tight. Thing One, who is a defender to his core, came out of nowhere with some kind of crazy spinning move that dropped him to the ground between the ball and the attacking forwards while launching the ball safely toward the sideline. You'd better believe that I was the proud mom jumping up and down and hollering on the sideline, but honestly? The best part was watching the joyful high fives between my son and the goalie afterward...between them, they got the job done when it absolutely needed to get done, and they knew it.
The team they played in today's tournament game absolutely creamed them in a 'friendly' scrimmage last week. It was ugly. They weren't playing positions well, they weren't passing, and it was really easy to see that only about half the boys on the team are used to playing together (courtesy of all the roster shakeups over the summer.) I don't have a clue what the coach said afterward, but today, it was like different boys showed up to that tournament game. They played heads-up, team ball, they left their hearts--and in a few cases, a little blood--out on that field, and they WON.
As did my beloved Irish, incidentally: 31-0 over Michigan. Definitely a day for celebration in this house!