It might be a little unfair to characterize the kindergartners at my school as small rodents, usually found in or near the Arctic, but this was one of the visions I had in my mind as I watched them work through their first experience playing soccer. They moved as one tight mass, moving in the approximate direction that the ball was. They wore pullover jerseys that identified them as two separate teams: orange and blue. That didn't matter. The challenge of getting the ball from one side of the field to the other was something in which everyone needed to be involved. If the goal was to achieve full participation, then I rang that bell.
As for teamwork, well, we've got a few more years to work on that. Most of the kids were excited about getting to kick the ball and wear the jerseys and run back and forth. The object of the game was almost completely secondary. When the ball rolled out of bounds, they chased it, right past the colorful cones I had set up and off that metaphorical cliff.
Again, compared to the fourth and fifth graders who alternated between seeing the game as deadly serious and an opportunity to whine about how long it would be until they went to lunch, the kindergartners just wanted to play. It made me think of my older brother's years spent coaching his daughter's youth soccer team. He kept his job and his cool not for just one season, but for years, until the girls grew out of it. My day as assistant P.E. coach in charge of the soccer concession did nothing but build my respect for him.
For him and those furry little kindergartners.