I'm still in touch with a number of the guys that I played football with as a child, one of which is now a coach for his daughter's nine-year-old team. I found it interesting that he was saying that he pleads with the girls to just kick a ball around the yard, or a can along the street between practices and games. To no avail. He made the point that football is the game that's uninterrupted by coaches so that bettering your technique come from spending hours just kicking a ball or in Pele's case, an orange or ball of rags. And anything could be a field, like in Thierry Henry's case, a closed supermarket parking lot with overturned grocery carts as goals. I remember with my group someone always had a football in his bag. So it was off the buses, onto any grass, drop your bags for goals and you'd be set for a quick 5-7 minute kickabout before first bell. It was the same at lunch, eat quickly and then find a bit of space to kick a ball around. And my brother would spend hours practicing juggling a ball around an obstacle course he'd designed with trash bins, and over the washing line and the side of the house. I walk by a middle school every day on my way to work, and my friend's comment struck me because I've never once seen two kids kicking a ball or any kind of object along as they walk to school. I know that soccer is very big in this country and there are a lot of leagues, but is that the only place that kids play football any more? At organized practice and in games? And does that mean that the football played is a bit stultified as a result?