Amidst a whirlpool of unmitigated chaos, furious passion and ceaseless screams of joy and pain, I turned to the infinite blue calm of the sky, in need of some relief from the relentless barrage of stimuli.
Instead, I received a blazing soccer ball to the face.
I had to laugh. The circus-like scene at Bushwick Inlet Park during Greenpoint Williamsburg Youth Soccer League‘s first day of the season encapsulated all of what makes the league -and indeed youth- so awesome.
Parents wandered about, totally perplexed. Kids of all size, shape and color ricocheted off one another, with ball after ball following suit. A local politician with the wholesome good looks of a vintage Michael J. Fox spoke passionately and earnestly on a creaking little P.A system about the need for more local parks in between the ear-piercing shrieks of infants and the ecstatic warbling of toddlers. The sun shone down on it all, making even the giant condos and industrial complexes that dwarfed the park seem somehow reassuring and protective.
It’s a more than reasonable $70 to join the wholesome world of the GWYSL. (A bit more if you don’t pay in advance.) The all-volunteer group accepts every kid it can fit and has a strong code dedicated to esteem-building fun above all else. Every child must get a chance to play at least half of each game. Parents who sit on the sidelines screaming for their doe-eyed sweethearts to bring bloody murder to the opposing team (cue innocent whistling and glancing about furtively from SuperDuperDad) receive disapproving glares and tut-tutting from the modern, hippiesque parents who dot the field’s sidelines. It’s good, clean, positive fun.
The scattered disarray of this first day was all too fitting. The excitement of the little ones was palpable, exploding everywhere in orgiastic bursts of post-winter- confinement energy as they ripped around the field, kicking, yelling and jumping for joy at everyone and everything in their paths. This was an apt reflection of the organization itself, which like the NYC parents themselves can be a bit harried and jumbled. But this is surely part of its appeal.
GWYSL is a genuine instance of the inhabitants of several different Brooklyn hoods’ working hard not just to be a community, but to make that community better. As I sat watching council-member whatshisface go on about developing our local parks, I couldn’t help but feel a little proud to be a Williamsburg Parent. It’s no wonder we’re starting to see Manhattanites cross the river to take part. Get to GWYSL’s website and register for the next session today.
Official SuperDuperDad Yay or Nay Verdict: Too obvious to note but… YAY!
Details: Games are every Saturday around 11am, with an optional weekly practice session. They occur at Bushwick Inlet Park, a twelve or so minute walk from the Bedford L stop. Go to GWYSL.com for all other info.