Playing the Game of Life or Soccer

I’m a soccer coach for eight beautiful, little five-year-old children. It does my heart good! Two of them are mine…but that’s beside the point. What matter’s is that every season I coach, I learn some very VALUABLE LIFE LESSONS from these little bundles of wisdom!

Just the other night I decided to do something crazy; something I was sure would get me into trouble. I emailed the parents and told them to wear their sneakers because we were going to have a GAME OF PARENTS VS KIDS. *da da dummmmm*

When I got to the field, I got the kids warmed up with jumping jacks, push-ups and a bit of “follow the leader” around the field. Then, I gathered them together and told them the SURPRISE: they were going to play a soccer game against their parents! Ahhhh!

They were BEYOND EXCITED about playing a game with their parents. And the beautiful part about it was that they weren’t bent on “beating” their parents. The kids didn’t turn competitive and cut-throat. They were just so surprised and really, OVER-JOYED, that they were going to get to PLAY WITH THEIR PARENTS.

It’s such a simple thing. Isn’t it? Yet many of us “GROWN-UPS” are so “responsible” and “busy” and “grown-up” that we balk at the thought of play! I admit, I get caught up in my work. The particularly difficult part is that I work from home, so I’m literally “at work” 24/7. It makes it difficult to separate my family life from my work life since they intersect so often. When I’m on conference calls, I’m folding laundry. When I’m dictating my book, I’m also doing the dishes. When I’m cooking for my family, I’m also recording the meals they like so I can share them with you! Anyway…when it comes down to play time, I’VE OFTEN CLAIMED “BUSY-NESS” AS A DEFENSE to cutting loose and enjoying my children.

But…this past Tuesday evening I saw something that MELTED MY HEART and confirmed my calling! These parents – although they may have been cursing me as they read the email – they hopped up when I called them to the field! They set up in their team formation. They smiled across the field at their little ones who were beaming back with the biggest, sweetest smiles you’ve ever seen! (I’m getting all watery-eyed remembering this SWEET MOMENT.)

Then, when the whistle blew and the kiddos kicked off…the sound of LAUGHTER FILLED THE AIR.

There were words of ENCOURAGEMENT and INSTRUCTION.

There were sweet exchanges of SMILES and a gentle and FUN-LOVING competition between the two teams.

Some of the more skilled parents were PLAYING keep-away and the kids roared with laughter!

The parents who didn’t have any soccer experience stood in one place and re-directed the kids to the correct goal, or attempted to keep them inside the white lines!

The parents who weren’t playing were feverishly snapping photos, recording the foolishness and fun on the field.

At the end, the kids and I stretched out. We did our battle cry where we pound the ground with our hands and at the count of “three” scream, “Hurricane Kids! Yay!” Then, THEY ALL RAN TO THEIR PARENTS AND GAVE THEM BIG HUGS!

Honestly, I don’t know who had more fun, the kids or the parents! Even though the grown-ups may have groaned at the thought of “playing”, it was inspiring to see the reactions they all had. I was speechless for most of the game just watching the interaction between the kids and the grown-ups they admire.

And this is why I do what I do!

I think I’m going to start a new soccer league, 30-40 somethings vs. 4-8 year olds! Would  you play?

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