Time Out: September 21, 2011

Breathe. Exhale. Breathe. Exhale. Breathe. Exhale. Everybody step back and relax. It’s not the end of the world.

The atmosphere was getting a wee-bit prickly on the sidelines in Delhi at Saturday’s boys’ soccer contest between the host Bulldogs and Margaretville. As Delhi pulled away in the second half, some of the Margaretville faithful began to show the frustration of a winless first week.

Now is time for Margaretville fans to step up to the plate. Now is the time when your Margaretville sons need you most. As their confidence wanes, your positive, balanced response, unconditional encouragement, and realistic evaluation of the team’s play makes a difference.

Margaretville has a long and rich tradition of soccer success. That can spike expectations of young athletes to unrealistic levels. A slow start can devastate morale. That’s where a knowing adult can be helpful.

Complaining doesn’t help
Pointing fingers, questioning personnel decisions and emphasizing mistakes never helps. Negative feedback can cloud communication and erodes team cohesiveness; constantly struggling teams need you to help them right a tilting ship.

What the Margaretville guys need from their fans is patience and positive support. They are a team facing unprecedented hurdles: a devastating flood that wiped out almost two weeks of preseason practice, the destruction of their home field forcing them to play their schedule on the road, and the loss of key personnel at critical spots on the field.

This summer, injuries dealt New York Met manager Terry Collins a roster full of first-year players. Collins has earned kudos for the patience and positive energy he has shown around his team. Even though the Mets have more losses than wins, Collins was quoted Sunday saying his young players have played outstanding baseball all summer long and he salutes them.

In describing his young players’ growth Collins said, “The more experience you get, the more confidence you get. The more confidence you get, the better player you become.”

That’s sound advice — advice the Margaretville soccer fan faithful could heed, as their young and promising squad adapts to the obstacles they have faced during a most unusual start to their season.