Last week, my husband and I drove a couple of hours north to see our children and grandchildren. The eight year old got placed in the defensive section of the soccer field after having had a taste of offense and the heady experience of kicking the ball into the goal. I noticed he stopped an aggressive players well placed boot which would have caused another scored point. He effectively sent the black and white sphere in the opposite direction to one of his waiting teammates.
I congratulated him on a game well played. “I didn’t make a goal this time.”
“I know it, but you stopped their team from getting the ball to the goal posts twice.” Then Grandpa added, “You kept your focus.”
Mom said, “You stayed in position, and that’s important.”
She played soccer for many years, even though at a young age she wasn’t sold on the sport. Her dad asked to stay on the team for the season and then if she didn’t like it, she could quit. She is our oldest and I was inclined to let her off the hook. When he explained that her team was counting on her, it made sense to me to have her stick it out. She agreed and after a few more games, she fell in love with the sport.
I remember in ninth grade, I think, she got up at five a.m. to practice soccer with her dad in the summer hoping to make the team. He went to college to be a physical education major, played soccer throughout high school and whenever he could after graduating, and he coached soccer teams for many years as a volunteer. It amazed me that they were so dedicated. I wondered if her coach had any idea how hard she worked, only to be cut during the tryouts. At her young age, she was philosophical about it. “Mom, you should see the girls I competed against. Their talent and speed surpasses mine. I get it.”
I forgave the coach, but I saw him at a meeting once and he came across as a person that made up his mind and there was no changing it. I felt better after she explained the circumstances. Then the next year she tried again, and that coach apologized to me for having to cut her. She went to a smaller college in her freshman year and they put her on the team, so I rejoiced with her.
As I watched her oldest face competitors, he took it all in stride. I don’t know whether he’ll continue playing soccer or if he’ll go for swimming like his dad. He loves to read and he’s a deep thinker, so he may not pursue sports at all. Only God knows what his future holds. All I know is that I’m privileged to be a grandma.
May God bless you.