Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Can Anyone Learn Anything From Soccer? Maybe.

We're going to another professional soccer game today. Our son is the public address announcer for the Chicago Fire and sometimes we get to sit with the boys during the game while Tim works and spend a little time as a family beforehand and after.

I've never been much of a soccer fan, however, playing baseball, basketball and some hockey as a kid. Soccer always seemed like too much running, too little scoring and a lot of fake injuries. But the more I watch these games, I see some life lessons that are worth talking about and modeling in everyday life.

It seems parents would be wise to discuss these now and then with your kids whether they actually play the game of not.

You don't always see the results of your efforts right away. Let's face it, soccer games with scores of 1-0 or even 0-0 are more common than 4-2 or 5-3. Results (most notably goals) don't just happen and usually don't occur in great quantity unless you're watching 7-year-olds.

Life works that way, too. Sometimes you have to work hard and long to see the results you want to see. And today's kids probably need to hear and see that more often to help them keep from becoming part of this oft-entitled generation.

You won't always win either. That's a lesson to be learned in every sport but it's enhanced in soccer because of ties. You can work really hard, lead the whole game 1-0 and then see the other team score in the last minute and you end up even. Life's the same. We don't always come out on top and sometimes others waltz in at the last minute and seem to get the same benefits. It doesn't feel fair, sometimes it's not, but it's life. Move on.

Sometimes great skills won't get noticed or appreciated. I have to admit that top-level soccer players are incredibly talented and fit. They run and run while making moves with a round ball and pretty much only their feet that most of us don't even dream about. And while soccer purists and participants generally recognize the high level of ability the players possess, many like me really don't appreciate their abilities for what they are. The lack of goals can imply that the players aren't doing that much of note when they are in many cases world class athletes.

We need to remind each other and our children that our efforts and abilities will never receive all the accolades they deserve. Nonetheless, we need to enjoy and embrace our accomplishments for what they are to us, to those who love us and to God.

Finally, we don't always live in the greatest of circumstances. Soccer, at least in the Midwest, is often played in lousy weather - rain, snow flurries, wind, you name it. And the game goes on anyway unless there is lightning. In fact, today's weather is supposed to be chilly, perhaps in the 40's at best. And in life we often have to go on in challenging weather - disappointments, challenges, steep roads to climb and wind, so to speak, in our face.

And that's what makes us stronger, tougher and more trusting in God.

So is there a game coming up? Look for a lesson or two.

Where's my favorite jersey?
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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