South Jersey Soccer:
Tuesday, June 1, 1999
By Joanne Costantino
This past Memorial Day weekend young athletes along with their families participated in the Voorhees Soccer Association's Memorial Day Classic. The tournament is a four day annual event with over 250 teams from across the state of New Jersey and some from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
Kudos to those young athletes and hats off to the organizers and volunteers (mostly parents) who spent this holiday weekend playing soccer, often twice in one day, and forgoing the usual fare of family picnics, day trips to Great Adventure or trips to the shore. The weather cooperated and just about everyone agreed that nicer weather hasn't been seen for a Memorial Day weekend in a very long time.
But the beautiful weather is the one thing that could have made it hard for those that were visiting from outside of a reasonable driving distance. Many of the families from central and northern New Jersey had booked hotel rooms for the tournament and had only the mall or back to their hotels to retreat to in between the scheduled games. A few of the veteran soccer families had a novel way of making the trip a real family affair. One family never left the field, having made the back of their pick-up truck into a makeshift patio, complete with music, hibachi grill, chairs and umbrellas to provide shade from the sun, almost all the comforts of home. The littlest spectators found refuge from the sun by constructing makeshift tents out of sheets and umbrellas, a much better place to eat ice cream and popsicles. Some families of local teams took turns with a round robin of barbecues and luncheons taking place at their homes between the morning and afternoon games, giving players a chance to rest and cool off and parents some time to do the stuff parents do on weekends.
While many of the athletes demonstrated poise beyond their years, some as young as 7 years old, it wasn't all a bed of roses. The beautiful sunny weather felt brutal by late afternoon. Fortunately, these kids have been conditioned to take care, and try to avoid heat exhaustion by keeping themselves hydrated and knowing when to leave the game if they felt ill. There were a few injuries, none too serious, but the coaches and parents were attentive and the safety of the kids was first and foremost. As for performance, these kids truly enjoy the sport and they are good at it. Everybody likes to win, but it is a sight to behold when one sees a young child play with so much serious concentration and still have fun. This is sportsmanship.
Photos by Boog Williams
©1999 South Jersey Sports Online