Well, it’s official. I’m a soccer mom.
As a matter of fact, I’m probably THAT soccer mom. And, no, it’s not because I now drive a van.
When Elijah first began playing soccer at the age of 4, it was more of a cuteness factor. All of the kids running after the ball causing constant pile ups, shin guards and socks that would constantly fall down because their little legs were still too small, and no goalies.
As he has gotten older, he has learned that he really enjoys soccer. He gets it. Elijah is usually my quiet, a little bit timid, A-LOT-like-his-mommy child. But when it comes to soccer, I see a spark in his eye and he comes alive on the field. He is not afraid to get in there and be aggressive. I live for that. It’s amazing to watch your kids realize that they are really good at something. (Yet, still be humble about it.)
Last week at his game was hard for me as a mom.
During the game, I noticed kids on the other team pushing our kids. It’s hard as a parent, to sit on the sidelines and witness your child being mistreated by another child. Not only that, but the coach of the other team was letting it happen. Luckily, we have an amazing coach who mentioned it to the referee at one point…yet, it still happened. Please keep in mind that this is a 7/8 year old team.
Although Elijah comes alive on the field, he is still (by far) my most sensitive child. At one point I saw the goalie give him a little shove and Elijah just stared back at him. It wasn’t a glare, or a mean look…but the look of a child who wanted to say something so bad, and couldn’t muster up the courage to do so. Now, had it been either of my other two kids out there, they would have definitely said something to the kid. My 10 and 3 year old can hold their own.
But, it was my Bubba.
He continued to play his heart out for the rest of he game. And, let me just say, this wasn’t happening to just Elijah. It was our whole team that was getting pushed around. Yet, they were ALL playing their very best and each of them held their composure throughout the game.
After the game was a different story.
Usually, Elijah runs over (whether they won or lost) gives me a big hug and a single dimple filled smile. When he reached me that day, I was on my knees gathering our things. I looked up at him and he slumped in front of me, and immediately began crying. Crying and questioning why kids can be so mean. Crying and telling me that it wasn’t fair that they won. Tears rolling down his face.
No, no it isn’t fair that they won. I explained to Elijah that unfortunately, sometimes in life we have situations where something isn’t fair. And, when it comes to the other team, playing unfairly is no way to win a soccer game…even if it is only 7 and 8 year olds. I went on to tell him how proud I was of him and his entire team (coach included) for keeping their heads held high and playing with heart and soul…the right way.
If this is only a 7 and 8 year old team, I can only imagine the intensity when he gets to high school…if he sticks with it.
My heart breaks for my kids when they cry. The momma bear in me wanted to go over and grab the coach by his ear and give him a piece of my mind. But I never would…like I said, Elijah gets his personality from me. I WAS Elijah…minus the enjoying soccer part. I hate confrontation.
Maybe I’m wrong and I tend to get overly protective when my kids are involved but, playing (or coaching a sport for that matter) isn’t all about winning. These kids are learning how to be team players, how to be good sports, learning fundamentals, and out there to also have a good time. They are learning life lessons that they will hold on to and remember for the rest of their lives.
To me, this goes further than just soccer or any other sport. Not “playing by the rules” in life won’t get you anywhere. Sure, you might think it does, but all you’re doing is short cutting yourself.
And, if you have little eyes watching you…you might think your are teaching them to score the winning goal, but you are only setting them up for failure.
So, think twice about the things you are doing to get the “W” on and off the field.