We just ended our fourth season of soccer for our boys. This time it ended in victory with our three boys winning the Championship games in their age divisions. Did I mention my husband was the headcoach for two of the teams, and assisted for the other? We've spent the last few months running in and out of the house as early as 7am on Saturdays to enjoy a full day of three soccer games. Our three boys have natural sweeper defense instincts. They hang in the back and then boot the ball back to the other side of the field when the opposing offenders try to score. They play for a small new community league where we know the other boys in the league because they've played in our son's team seasons ago. We can't help to feel happy for some of those boys who score against our team. We know their story and what it means to them. For the Championship games I made cupcakes to celebrate. Homemade cupcakes and there were no warnings from a National Headquarter office warning us to get flu vaccinations, just kids and families having fun.
I play in a coed soccer team as well. They are casual scrimmages but it's still competitive. Before I ever started playing, I would stare at the players while on my walk. They would invite me to play and I wondered what it would be like. I hadn't played since I was 10. I enjoyed playing. I liked chasing after the ball and players since I was smaller and more agile than the girls who bloomed before I did. I played soccer until they elected me to be goalie and I got kicked in the face with the soccer ball right on my glasses. I never played soccer after that. It wasn't so much because it hurt but rather because I was humiliated. They laughed and poked fun of me wearing glasses. Back then that was all it took to deter me.
So when I finally accepted the invitation to play, I wore regular running shoes and borrowed my oldest son's chin guards. I don't remember much about that first game I played with them but I do remember I liking it. I was hooked. My dabbling at half marathons had given me the confidence that I can hang in there and run. I knew I could at least play defense. Now I like soccer more than running because it provides a fun reason to do the running.
I've learned a lot from soccer. It's taught me how to zone in and focus on the moment. There are times when I am playing and I am in the zone and I'm able to seize the ball from a player or kick it while it's in the air between their running stride. I have no idea how I did it. I just did. I learned that you can't be thinking about what you are trying get your body to do, that you have to get your fumbling mind out of it, and just focus on the ball and let your body do what it wants to do. Knowing that, I don't always play well. In a single game, I am in and out of the moment. If only I could maintain laser like focus throughout my life as well as in soccer. I forget and take my eyes off the ball and I go for the player instead. My misdirection deceives me in life as it does in soccer. Sometimes I don't get to the zone at all. It always helps when I center myself and I ask God, My Creator, to help me focus, have a good game, and keep me safe. I don't feel I'm being selfish asking for help because I believe God is infinite and living in all things at the same time. So when I choose to center myself at a moment, it doesn't take away from that of something else. I'm learning to apply the principals I learned from playing soccer to all areas of my life to get out of my own way, just do it, feel it, and own it.
Theme Song: Sanctus Real - Lead Me