FTSL Week 1: Get Out There

I’ve been trying to think of a way to plug back into my blog on a more regular basis. I enjoy hosting guest authors, but also love sharing thoughts and encouragement here on Indiana Wonderer. It’s not always easy, however, finding inspiration for regular posts. What to do, what to do?

The answer came to me this weekend as I sat watching my oldest hit the soccer field for his first game of the season. While not all my readers are parents of young children, it dawned on me that there are life lessons going on all around us, no matter our ages or situations, but especially in sports.

So today I’m sharing with you my very first edition of FTSL: “From the Sidelines”.

FTSL

Today’s message?

Just get out there.

My son was nervous on our drive to his first game—they would be facing one of last year’s top two teams. We did our best to keep him calm. Focused on the positives, reinforced pointers both his coach and former-soccer player father had taught him, and encouraged him to do his best. If you’re on defense, steal the ball or break up the play. If you’re on offense, drive, pass and shoot. Then we cranked the radio and tried to find a “pump me up” song to help set his game day mentality.

As I settled into my collapsible chair alongside the field and watched our team warm up, I scanned the faces, sizes, and body languages of each child. Happy, nervous, tired. Big, medium, small. Relaxed, still waking up, ready to roll. No two kids looked the same. I was eager to see how each would perform, and how they would function as a team.

And to cheer. Lord, I love to scream and cheer. That, and shout directions at my son–which, admittedly, I need to do less of. Tough to do, when you’re competitive. And sometimes mistakes just seem so obvious from the sidelines.

Why didn’t #7 pass to the outside? What is #12 doing staring at the next field when the ball’s coming their way? Stop trying to be fancy with the ball and take the shot already!

Ah, but I’m maturing as a sports mom. Learning to cheer more and “armchair coach” less. It helps that our coach is fantastic, and that the skill level of the team as a whole has vastly improved over the years. The kids who really want to play the sport are out there, active and engaged. The daisy-pickers, well, most of them have either opted out of soccer or chosen a different path/sport/pastime.

That’s not to say everyone on the field Saturday was a soccer superstar. No, there were still a handful of kids out there that, as a slightly competitive parent, even I could see weren’t quite at the skill and ability level as the rest. But the more I watched them play, and the redder their cheeks grew from the physical exertion of it all, I had to give it to them—they were out there trying. Every kid on that field was on their feet and moving. Every kid was there.

And therein lies today’s message: just get out there.

Think about it–how easy is it for us to face a challenge and then give up without a try?

Don’t want to sign up for a new/old sport because you’re not a superstar? Wad up the enrollment form and walk away.

Too afraid of rejection to apply for your dream job? Sweep your dream under the rug and forget about it.

Hate the idea of change? Maintain the status quo and stay miserable.

It’s too easy, sometimes—especially for adults—to take the easy road. The comfortable road. The safe road. But life isn’t easy, it’s not always comfortable, and many times it’s not even all that safe (for our health, mind, or body). So if we sit back on our haunches and never challenge ourselves, what message are we truly sending to our kids? To ourselves?

Saturday, I found inspiration in those kids. At this level of play, they weren’t out there because their Mom and Dad made them be there, they were out there because they wanted to be there. They loved the game, no matter their skill level, and they wanted to be in it. Good or bad, superstar or struggling newbie, they were there. And while nothing about the hour-long game was easy, each and every kid on that field dug in and played their heart out.

Just like we should do in life, each and every day.

Get out there—that’s this week’s message “From The Sidelines”.

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