First day is fun

I got to see a bunch of boys line up as if they were 10 bowling pins on an alley, while their coach rolled a soccer ball to knock them all down.

I also saw a little boy blue, a kid masquerading as one of the guys from Blue Man Group, ready to be the mascot for Pegasus Elementary.

On another side of a field was Mike Sanchez, a former professional soccer player coaching his son and a Carden Hall boys' team.

Over near the snack bar, where referees check in, I saw "The Celebrity Referee," Michael Cage, a former NBA player.

Then later, from pushing one button on a video camera I soon heard loud screaming from an Andersen girls' team, getting all loud because they wanted to show their excitement about playing in a youth soccer tournament.

But this just isn't any youth soccer tournament. This is the 12th annual Daily Pilot Cup. And those colorful sights and loud sounds were from the first day. There are five more days of this soccer extravaganza, and surely the final day will be the greatest.

The first one was definitely fun. An Andersen boys' third- and fourth-grade team sure appeared to be having fun. The Andersen boys were silly, and that just wasn't for the camera. I held the video camera for our video reporter, Julie Buehler, who asked questions. (You can watch the video at

But even when the camera wasn't on, the Andersen boys acted like bowling pins. And another time, they practiced another celebration. They formed a circle with one kid in the middle. He acted as if he had a gun and he fired at each one of his teammates who playfully fell to the ground after the pretend shot.

Every year I tell myself that the Pilot Cup will be the same as the previous year, but it's always different. I could see that from the very first day of the 2011 edition.

Here's our chance to see the purity of sport. Kids just having fun. Some of them have painted their faces, others have decorated their T-shirts. Others don't need to do anything to their T-shirts. Newport Coast Elementary, you know what I'm talking about with those bright neon green shirts.

There is innocence found on the fields at the Costa Mesa Farm Complex. But it isn't all fun and games. In the past I've witnessed cheating and grumpy parents shouting negative words to the opposing players.

However, overall, this is really a great soccer tournament. I could see by the faces on the first day. I could hear it from the sounds: the joy coming from kids breaking out of a team huddle and ready to conquer the second half.

There was some hugging too, especially after goals scored.

Perhaps Pilot Cup Director Kirk McIntosh says it best when he says he doesn't know of any other event that brings the community together quite like the Daily Pilot Cup soccer tournament.

Our paper's name is on the tournament so this might all sound like a shameless plug, but I would have to agree.

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