LESSONS FROM THE SOCCER FIELD
For nearly twenty years I experienced life from the sidelines of a soccer field. My son was four when he first played. His first kick off resulted in a goal which unfortunately didn’t count because two players had to touch the ball before it could be considered a goal. (Follow that?) From that moment, game on! And still today his first love in sports and perhaps in life is soccer.
My daughter too, had her love of soccer and played during her teenage years. It was a great thrill for her to experience so much success through her competitive years. Later, as a young adult she taught soccer to small children around the Seattle area.
My actual playing of soccer involved one brief 5 week period when the moms and dads of my son’s team decided, wouldn’t it be fun to play indoors. And after being reassured we would be in a forty and over league, what the heck, let’s try it. After all how hard could it be? Unfortunately for us the only team over forty was our team! We could have easily called ourselves the Groan Team, because during and after that’s all one would hear from us. Clearly, my kids didn’t inherit a soccer gene from me.
After all those years of being around soccer I couldn’t help to hear common comments from the array of coaches. With the World Cup playing center stages, I tried to recap a few of these
- Go to the ball – if you won’t others will
How many times do we stand to the side, either in soccer or in life, afraid to move forward when someone with a tad more courage out plays us, or suggests the idea we had also thought of or speaks to the girl or guy we were thinking of approaching. Sometime we have to move ourselves forward before our opportunities passes.
- Play fair, but send a message when you need to –
This can be a tricky one – when you have someone continually after you (or biting you!?) there does come a time to take a stand.
- It may not be a fair call – deal with it
I think this one might be repeated over and over again, not only to players but to fans and especially parents. The refs call them as they see them and with all the action on the field, sometimes calls from the best refs aren’t good calls. Well, sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. Move on!
- Ignore the score – play with your heart
Don’t you just love those players that continue to play their hardest when the score says their team is losing? Soccer changing in seconds, as demonstrated many times in the World Cup. Play your heart out until the end!
- It’s a running game – run
It’s the expectation of the game. If you only want to meet the expectations, try another game.
- Your team mates are just that
They are the people you play with, some you are friends with, but many years down the line, they will be people and names. In other words don’t take their criticisms to heart. In two years, five years and even twenty years will be matter what they thought?
- Keep your eye on the ball
Watch your intention. If your intention is to win, make sure you keep your attention on what will get you there.
- Don’t get sucked in
Team success (and perhaps your success) involves keeping in touch with your job and what you need to do. Getting off course or paying attention to those things which may cause you to play “off sides” doesn’t help the cause.
- Sometimes you have to take one for the team
You may be asked to play a different position or even sit along the sidelines. And yes, it is hard to understand or even accept those requests, but grace goes a long ways
- It’s a game – have fun!
It is a game and a fun game! Enjoy every minute that you can, because some day the sidelines will be your only view.
GO TEAM USA!