It’s Friday

Seeing lessons from the sidelines

DW and I have been spending Saturday mornings at the soccer field. Our boys didn’t play soccer, I don’t even remember this game of “football” even being an option. They started with tee-ball and progressed to little league. But whatever the game, team sports are fun and teach valuable lessons. I know these little boys and girls are all just learning but sometimes they are so funny. DW thinks he’s beginning to see some improvement, though. Here are my personal observations from the sidelines.
First of all, it’s going to be cold out on that wide-open soccer field. I’m the old grandmother with her sunglasses and hoodie on, wrapped up in her trusty MSU stadium blanket. But, it’s a fine sports complex for the children and families of Jackson, TN, regardless of the temp.
You’ve got to love these coaches. Each is a coach, parent, teacher, friend, comforter, encourager, a nurse when needed, and always patient and kind. And for this group of 3 to 6-year-olds that’s important, they’re pretty much still babies.
We have a team of characters. There’s Sparkle. She always has a twinkle in her eye and smile on her face, but she absolutely will not, no not ever kick the ball.
Tiny is three. He looks so cute in his team shirt thats swallows him up, leaving only his ankles showing. Undecided stands on the side with his fingers in his mouth, trying to get his courage up when the coach calls him in. When he finally decides to go, it’s too late, the whistle has blown and the game continues without him. But YEAH for experience!
Addisyn runs hard and knows how to turn the ball, and which goal to kick towards. Wes is an athlete. I think we’ll be cheering for this one for years to come!
Yabbi has short stocky legs and can run nearly perpendicular to the ground. He’s a sight to see.
And our Mack, for his first year at soccer he enjoys his cleats and participating but has a slight problem with focus. It’s too bad that finding bugs in the grass doesn’t count in the win column.
I’ve realized from under my warm blanket that there are also life lessons from the field, though lost on the team, we adults could benefit. I’m not sure when children begin to understand the concept of team sports, maybe in the next age bracket. Right now it’s more like they are individually playing a game of keep away. It’s hard to win when the team’s not a team.
A common goal. Everyone on the same team needs to work for the same goal. And listening to the coach or following good advice helps. Note the accompanying picture, it’s worth a thousand words.
Focus is a must, even when there’s a hugely enticing distraction (like a playground) across from the soccer field that looks like a whole lot more fun than a soccer game. Commitment, self-control and learning to wait are hard concepts to master but well worth it.
Boundaries, rules, and a game plan are necessary to winning. It’s not about how hard and far you can kick the ball in soccer or how fast you can run if you don’t know where you’re going or why.
Aim, strategy, and control are important. It’s amusing to watch when the ball is kicked clear across the field, out of bounds, and all the little soccer players go running full speed but aimlessly out of bounds after it.
And then, sometimes you have to sit on the bench. Don’t wander off or pout. You’re really still in the game and on the team. So, pay attention, be ready when the coach calls you back.
And my most valuable lesson? The shin guards are worn UNDER the socks.
Go get ‘em team!

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