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Having a ball

Most of the time as a sports writer, and even more so as a fan, things boil down to scores and standings.

Saturday morning, while hanging around and shooting photos at Suffolk Youth Athletic Association’s soccer fields, I had no idea about any of the scores of the games going on or about the wins and losses for any of the teams this spring.

I’m pretty sure no score was being kept in the six-and-under games. Though it didn’t seem score was being kept in the U8 game, either, by that age some competitiveness is kicking in, and the players basically know who’s winning and losing, even if no one officially wins or loses when time runs out.

In the 10-and-under game, however, score was being kept. The Dragons definitely knew they had just won their first game of the season and were very excited about it after the final whistle.

Keeping track of the score or not, the spring morning was perfect for everyone — players, volunteers, coaches, parents and officials, too — to be outside. If all the boys and girls improved their soccer skills, and values such as teamwork, sportsmanship and healthy competition, then all the better.

I was watching a different game when I heard a loud cheer and almost equal parts laughter, from a U6 game behind me.

The yellow team had scored straight off the kickoff. It wasn’t a quick pass or play and a goal; it was a kick straight from midfield into the goal.

The yellow team celebrated with a complete team hug in the midfield circle as an official sheepishly explained to a coach it wasn’t a goal. The team taking a kickoff must have another player touch the ball before it can score a goal.

The ruling didn’t reach the team hug, so no harm, no foul.

On another field a bit later, a linesman called a throw-in the way of the green team. While the blue team thought the ball should’ve belonged to them, and it took a few seconds for the blue team to regroup, the green team threw the ball in and charged with a 4-on-the goalie break into the blue penalty box and scored an easy goal.

Blue’s coach pulled his goalie out of the game, telling him he could’ve been the first to the ball on the throw-in if he had been more aggressive.

As harsh as the substitution seemed at the moment, again, no harm, no foul as the goalie was back in the game in a different position a minute or two later.

And soon another week of rec-league soccer had come to a close on a beautiful spring day.