Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Professional 2nd Grade Soccer Player

Another night of soccer. With three boys in our house, I expect to spend a large portion of my life near a field of one sport or another. I learned early on in my first year of soccer to get a lawn chair and sit away from the bleachers. I sat on the bleachers for the first game of my boys first "real" season. He was in the first grade. I wanted to socialize with the other parents, I wanted to belong with the group. I listened to the parents of both teams belittle the coaches. I listened to them berate the refs, and complain of calls that were both to strict and not strict enough. I left that game with more anxiety than I have felt in a very.long.time. I remember thinking I need to sit by myself, and now I do.

I do not pretend to know a single rule of soccer. Just today my 4 year old corrected my goal/corner kick reference. But, let me tell you what I do know. My oldest is now a second grader. He is seven years old. He will never be a professional soccer player. He is in his second year of organized soccer. He is learning to be a team player. He will pass the ball on occasion, but he will also be a ball hog. He is learning to be a team player. He is not as good as some players, he is better than others. He is trying his best. He does not need your approval, and I pray he can't hear your rantings about how weak his kicks are. He is trying his best. His teammates encourage him, and his coach allows him to play defense, offense and even goalie! He loves to play soccer. He is smiling when he steps on the field, and smiling when he steps off. He loves to play soccer.

Let me tell you what else I know. This coach you are belittling, the one who can't coach his way out of a paper bag. The one who should pull his kid and put yours in, he is teaching our sons! He willingly volunteers his time. He has a full time job. He has kids of his own, and a family to care for. He takes time to know our boys and lifts them up when they fall. He teaches them to be team players. He teaches them to try their best. He teaches them to love soccer.

Same for your refs. Do you think you can do a better job? Please contact the soccer association. I am sure they would love to have another volunteer to add to their small list. There are never enough coaches, refs, concession stand workers or field painters to get the job done.

What there are enough of are loud mouthed, upset and undermining parents. Don't join that group. If you have to, take a lawn chair and sit by yourself!