Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I know I’ve mentioned numerous times that some of my kids are into sports. Mainly, my girls. Lately, it seems like my life revolves around soccer. Indoor soccer. Outdoor soccer. Competition soccer. Soccer practice. Soccer every day, and on and on and on.
But for all my complaining, I must admit, I’ve learned a lot from watching my girls play. Specifically with their indoor team.
It all started with my oldest daughter, Sneezy. She’s a sports-girl through and through. At some point, she and a bunch of her friends got together and decided to play indoor soccer together. Most of them had played together in city-league soccer or basketball or other sports before, but the idea wasn’t to go in and dominate. Rather, they went to play together and have fun. My younger daughter, Happy, even joined them.
Instead of ordering expensive uniforms—which many teams do—they tie-died T-shirts. Then they made up two important team rules.
1. No matching socks allowed, and neon is luckier than boring white.
2. Post-game cartwheels on the field are mandatory. Everyone must participate.
Then, they persuaded one of the dads to coach and went in to sign up as a team.
They lost the first few games. It took them a while to find their groove and learn to play together. But about half-way through their first season, something clicked. The girls became a team. And they started to win. Even against serious, uniformed teams. Coed teams with tall, competitive boys.
But they have never lost their spirit of fun to the competition. Even when they’re being slammed into a wall by someone twice their size, the parents are laughing because these girls are squealing, giggling, and cheering for each other. Those girls are there for the fun of the game, and it shows.
The two rules they set have never been broken. And after four indoor seasons, their losses can be counted on one hand.
I love to watch these girls play because it makes me look at my own life. Every time they play, I ask myself: will I let competition eat at me until I become crippled? Or will I play for love of the game and know that eventually I’ll find my groove?
Personally, I hate competition. But I love to play—er, um, I mean write. And I’ll happily wear mis-matched neon socks and a home-made tie-dye shirt while I do cartwheels in my back yard if that’s what it takes. Because I am good enough. We all are. And I’ll keep on writing /playing for as long as it takes until I figure out how to win the game.
Who’s with me?