FTSL Week 3: Competitors Not Enemies

Happy Monday, everyone. We’re back with week three of my fall blog series: FTSL (From the Sidelines), where I’m sharing lessons and inspirations discovered while sitting along the sidelines of my boys’ fall sports. Because, truly, life’s lessons can be found both on and off the field for all ages.

This week’s message?

Remember–they’re our competition, not our enemies.

Our family did the ‘ole divide and conquer this week, as both kids had games that overlapped in times on Saturday. It was my turn to take the oldest to his soccer match while my dear hubby escorted the youngest to flag football. As it was, I bumped into one of my writing critique partners, Jeremy Asher, before the game. And wouldn’t you know it, our kids’ teams were playing each other that day. (By the way, Jeremy is also a local author, and a fantastic one at that. If you haven’t read his books, seriously, you need to. Do not pass GO!, do not collect $200, get over to Amazon and check him out on the double.)

So before the game had even started, I felt a little less…blood thirsty than usual. Okay, that may be a bit harsh (sorry, been watching too many episodes of Game of Thrones lately!) but those who know me know I may have a teensy bit of competitive blood flowing through my veins. But, since our team was facing one with a friend’s child on it, I couldn’t really sit there and feel ill will toward them. And that realization got me thinking: do I usually feel ill will toward the other team?!


In the past? Possibly. I’m a soccer mom, after all. I want my child to play his best, to do his best. I wish for his team to collectively do their best.

But over the years, I’ve mellowed out. Or, perhaps, I’ve matured during my tenure on the sidelines. You see, my son has been on winless teams before. Teams that by mid-season the kids walk onto the game field with their heads hung low before the game has even begun. It’s disheartening watching them look so down. Feel so down. And, as any parent knows, you can only try to lift them up so many times before they just start tuning your perpetual sidelines optimism out.

This weekend, our team’s undefeated status crumbled. And while I knew it wasn’t an easy pill to swallow, I couldn’t feel angry at the other team. You see, as I was talking to another mom from another team scheduled to play after us, I admitted that we’d lost. “Our first loss of the year,” I said. Another woman not too far from us looked up and smiled at me sheepishly. “It was our first win,” she said.

And right there, my heart lifted for the other team. For our competition, who beat us soundly.

Our competition, not our enemies.

Those kids deserve to have their moment in the spotlight, just like everyone else. They, too, practice hours upon hours each week, and give everything they’ve got on game day. This week, they were the better team on the field and deserved that win. And I told the woman as much. She smiled, and we both walked off as friends, not enemies.

This lesson, as the others in this series, is not restricted to kids’ sports games–it applies to every facet of our lives. We all come from different places, different homes, different families and backgrounds and traditions. But at our core we are all human, and we all deserve to have our moment in the spotlight. So the next time things don’t necessarily go the way we’d hoped, let’s not lose sight of the fact that perhaps, just that once, it went the way someone else needed it to go.

Have a great week, everyone.



5 thoughts on “FTSL Week 3: Competitors Not Enemies

  1. My grandsons got lucky when they first started Little League (years ago:) Their coach would clap for ANY good play, on their team or the team they competed with. It was a wonderful lesson in sportsmanship, and I’ll always remember that coach.

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