"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Friday, June 19, 2015

7 things I learned from playing soccer

In case you haven't heard, the Women's World Cup is happening this summer. I may or may not have considered getting cable for a couple months because of it. #confessions

Since I grew up playing soccer - and actually played in various co-ed leagues in my adult life, even after Landon was born - watching the USA women's games got me thinking about how great of a sport soccer is and how much I've learned from it.

I tell myself that I won't be the parent that forces her kids to play soccer just because it was my favorite...but I'm really, really hoping at least one of my boys ends up loving the game as much as I do. Only time will tell. And maybe they will learn the same things I did:

Stamina and skill
45 minutes of running around. Twice. So that requires A LOT of training and conditioning to be able to last through a 90 minute game...not to mention the whole dribbling a ball at the same time. Soccer is not for the faint of heart, y'all. What doesn't kill you really does make you stronger! (And MAN, too bad I'm not in that kind of shape anymore...)

Maybe this one's obvious. While I definitely also did individual sports like cross-country, there's just something special about team sports. You learn to work together with other people towards a common goal.

Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes a teammate dribbles the ball too much. Sometimes you let your team down when you miss the penalty kick. But no matter what, you learn how important it is to be a part of a team and stick together, and that is something I think everyone should experience.

This goes along with teamwork, because you can't be a team without communicating. I think it's safe to say that the best teams aren't necessarily the ones with the most skill...it's the ones with the best communication. It's hard to tell when you're just watching a game on TV, but soccer isn't just running around. You're constantly talking to and communicating with your teammates.

Just think how the best relationships in your life are the ones where you communicate your feelings to each other. Nothing good ever comes from keeping things to yourself. (Ask me how I know! Ha.)

People underestimate short people.
And they totally shouldn't.

Sometimes you have to look at the funny side of things.
I think one of my funniest soccer moments ever was during a high school game when we weren't playing a very good team. But they did have this one crazy tall girl - like seriously, over 6 feet tall and not exactly skinny, so she was a bit intimidating - and I guess her coach told her to mark me no matter what.

So just imagine me, 5 feet tall (maybe) with shoes on, with this MUCH taller girl following me around. That's not even the funny part. I started running around in circles because I thought it was stupid she was following me (I can be a smart ass sometimes, I'll admit), and that tall girl hollered after me, "I'LL FOLLOW YOU TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!!" I could have been scared...or I could have laughed. Just guess what I did.

Soccer is fun. Seriously.

Soccer tended to bring out my aggressive side. (And I should clarify that being aggressive while playing soccer is not the same thing as playing dirty.) So when an opponent would shove/trip/elbow me in the face, it took a lot of willpower to not punch her back. But I restrained, because, well, punching is against the rules. And that was good practice for when I need to restrain myself in other ways...like not going hostile on the guy who cut me off on the interstate.

But let's be honest. I wasn't always good at this one. (Like the time I yelled at a referee. Not my finest moment.)

Redemption can happen anywhere.
During the championship game of a tournament, I had the chance to score the winning goal. The ball came right to me, right in front of the goal...and I completely missed it. It wasn't like I kicked the ball straight to the goalie or I kicked it out of bounds. No, my foot completely missed the ball. It was humiliating. I can still hear the crowd: Awwwwww!!

But then a teammate came out of nowhere, charging up to the ball that I missed, and she nailed that sucker into the back of the net. Goal! We won the tournament. What could have been an embarrassing moment (well, it was still embarrassing) turned into a redemptive experience. Yes, I fail sometimes (okay...a lot of times), but there's still a chance for redemption.

It's a great connection to sin and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. At least I think so! (Or maybe I'm just stretching it. My bad.)

Okay, 3 link-ups in one week....personal record for me. Go see Kelly to check out more quick takes! And Go Team USA!! They play again on Monday :)

p.s. I remembered after writing this that Kendra wrote this post last year during the men's World Cup.  You should totally read it. It's hilarious.

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