It’s the end of the soccer season, and the parents in our teams have breathed a sigh of relief that there will be no more freezing nights standing around at practice. With three kids playing now, the night of practice seemed to take hours and hours. In reality, No3 started at 4.30 (although due to work, I was never able to get there before 5) until 5.30; and then we would have a picnic dinner before No1 and No2 practiced from 6 to 7pm. This routine, with the dinner, meant that we could come home from practice to go straight into a warm bath, then bed.
The end of the season always brings with it a little award ceremony, where the kids are given their participation medals for the season. And cue the outrage from parents around the internet, decrying the system.
“My kid shouldn’t get a medal for doing nothing. Only for winning.”
“No wonder kids expect to just get stuff without trying.”
But I don’t see it that way. Every kid in the team has done something worthwhile. They have showed up every week for practice and a game. They have been part of a team, whether the team won the premiership or lost every game. Shouldn’t they get some recognition of that? A season long team sport is not just about winning and losing a game. Being part of the team is a useful life skill, and we should demonstrate to our kids that there is a benefit in being part of the team.
It would be ridiculous to give a kid a medal every week just for turning up to practice (although I think the parents should get something – whiskey perhaps). It would be equally crazy to ONLY give participation medals and take away the trophy for the winning team.
Our club has found a sensible balance on this issue. Every kid, who has been part of a team for a whole season, gets a season medal. It is simply inscribed with the season and the age group. The club also has a presentation event, where the winner’s trophies are awarded. Teams who won their division get a trophy, and each team gives out two awards to the best player and the most improved player. Our team didn’t win the division, although we won 9 of 14 games, but we won a different club award that was a lovely recognition of our team and the way they approach the game.
From almost 80 teams in our club, our team was named “Team of the Year” for the way they played every match in the spirit of the game, competing fairly against the opposition with no sledging and being supportive of every member in the team.
So a shout out to the Under 10s – division 4 soccer team, and all the great parents who have fun together on the side line. A special mention to our fabulous coach who commands respect from a bunch of nine and ten year old kids, sending them around the field with just a wave of the hand.
The kids know that life is complicated, and they understand the difference between a trophy for victory and the season medal for being in the team for the season. Perhaps it is because they understand this difference that they can play together with wonderful team spirit. Always supporting each other and having loads of fun. Although we are encouraged to try and win at various events, we can’t all be winners. But there is value in being dedicated to a team, and a season participation medal is for that.
For all of you that made our team special this season, here is a comforting and easy pie. You don’t even have to make the pastry, which is great, because when you look at pie recipes, they all have different pastry recipes, and many say things like “a simple blend of sweet and puff pastry”, but you know that it’s just not going to be simple. So buy the pastry and two types because then you get a nice crisp sweet base without having to blind bake as well as a puffy top.
I promise that if you can turn on an oven, and cut stuff, you can make this pie.
2pm – I made this for afternoon tea on a lazy Sunday and served with icecream.
Rhubarb and Apple pie
- 2 apples
- 2 lemons
- 2 sheets- sweet pastry
- 2 sheets – puff pastry
- 50g butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Cinnamon powder
How to prepare
Take the rhubarb and cut off the leaves and end of the stalk. Cut the rhubarb stalks into small pieces. Place the butter into a saucepan and sprinkle the top with cinnamon. Melt the butter, then add the rhubarb. Sprinkle the sugar over the top and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes until the outsides of the rhubarb have just softened, but they still maintain their shape. Mix it all through and remove from the heat.
Cut the apples into small pieces, I made thin slices, but any shape will do. Place the apples into a bowl and squeeze the lemons over the top.
Cut the sweet pastry into squares – 2 sheets makes 8 evenly sized pieces.
Take a baking tray and rub butter all over it (or if you care about your waistline, you can spray it with some of that olive oil spray). Place the 8 squares onto the baking tray.
Place a spoonful of rhubarb onto each piece of pasty, then arrange some apple pieces on top.
Cut the puff pastry into squares – the same size as the sweet pastry, so you have 8 matching pieces.
Place a piece of puff pastry on top of each pie.
The next step is to make them into actual pies by squeezing the edges together. Most recipes will say use a fork, but most recipes use the same type of pastry, and it doesn’t really work here. Rather, you need to treat it a little like a dumpling, and roll the edges together. So tuck your fingertips underneath the edge and fold the two pastry types together, then squash them between your finger and thumb. It won’t look perfectly neat and tidy, but rustic is on trend so this method will end up with a little hand-pie that is perfectly imperfect.
How to cook
Place the baking tray in the oven at 180oC for about 30 minutes until the top of the pie is puffy and brown. A pro-tip to make it really golden looking is to brush it with egg before baking, but I can never manage to either remember to do this or to have eggs in the house on the few times I remember to do this. However, if you want to do that, it will make them look nicer and give the pastry a better crunch.
2.45pm – Serve with icecream.