FTSL Week 8: Enjoy the Game

Welcome back to the final edition of my fall blog series FTSL (From the Sidelines), where I’ve been sharing lessons and inspirations discovered along the sidelines of my boys’ fall sports. Because, truly, life’s lessons can be found both on and off the field for people of all ages.

This week’s lesson? Enjoy the game.

We had two sports running at the same time this past weekend, so I was my oldest son’s solitary family cheering unit at soccer (the rest of the family was at our youngest’s flag football game, since it was his last and we’ve got one more week left of soccer). I cozied up to another family from our team, and had a wonderful time watching, clapping, and yelling cheering. The game was a great one, and with both teams fairly well matched we headed into halftime tied at 0-0. The second half followed suite, and we were just about the four minute mark when our goalie took a ball to the face at close range. Once he managed to (thankfully) get upright, a sub was brought in.

I don’t know about the other parents, but I was sitting on the sideline cheering and yelling encouraging and thinking, “God, just let them hang on for four more minutes!” And I’ve got to tell you, that was a really stressful last four minutes. Every attempt on our goal was a nail biter, every attempt by us on their goal full of gasps and “oh, so close!” ‘s. The other team managed to sneak a goal into our net with only seconds left on the clock. We lined back up, but it was too late. The whistle blew. We’d lost 0-1.

Now, I’d thought of writing about our poor goalie, and maybe how the substitution affected the outcome. But really, the sub played his heart out and I don’t think anyone could blame him for his valiant efforts. No, the bigger lesson from this weekend actually hit me just this evening, as I was debating whether or not to push this post off another week because nothing in my head was quite gelling. But sometimes as a writer, if a story really wants to be told, it shoves its way to the forefront of my mind and demands my attention. Tonight’s message did just that, and caught me completely off guard.

Enjoy the game? Where had that come from?

See, I fretted and stressed and gasped and yelled those last four minutes. But seriously, what was I doing wishing those last four would hurry on by before the other team could score?

Really? I wanted time to hurry? Ah, how foolish a thought that was.

See, there was someone who couldn’t be here this season to cheer from the sidelines. Someone who always loved to come to our sons’ games, through rain or snow and hot or cold. Someone who cheered at the kids and hollered at the refs, just liked the rest of us.

Someone who was stolen from us by cancer last November.

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My father-in-law would be getting ready to celebrate another birthday in two weeks, and not a game this season went by when we didn’t feel an ache in our chests triggered by his absence. Terry was a wonderful husband, a terrific dad, an amazing father-in-law, and one of the best grandpas around. And while I know he’s been watching the games from a seat with a much better view than any of us mere mortals had this season, it’s still been tough to wear a smile some mornings as we headed out to the playing fields, knowing he wouldn’t be there and how much it still hurts to have him gone.

But we would be doing him a tragic disservice if we didn’t sit back and enjoy every game his grandchildren have. If we didn’t savor every minute, laugh at every opportunity, cheer on every player (and maybe even the refs, too). Our time on this earth is finite—why waste a minute of it hoping that time will hurry up in the hopes of avoiding an outcome we may not like?

Life is a gift, the greatest one of all–let’s try to embrace what’s been given to us. To get out there and play the game. To come prepared for whatever life may bring. To look at those around us as competitors, not enemies. To stop saying “I can’t”. To know that there is never any shame in asking. To learn to weigh the risks we take versus the consequences they may bring. To be somebody’s cheerleader. And above all else, to ENJOY THE GAME.

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It’s been a terrific season, everyone. Thanks so much for joining me and my views From The SideLines.

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11 thoughts on “FTSL Week 8: Enjoy the Game

    • Thank you, Liz. This lesson kinda hit me between the eyes. I spend so much time hurrying to complete tasks to try and free up other time that I’m wondering how much joy in the process I’ve been missing. My mantra for the rest of the year will be “savor”. 🙂

  1. Very touching Karen. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much Terry loved each one of his grandchildren and how much they loved the old rascal in him. You had to raise your Captain Crunch eyebrow at him a few times too, while I had to forbid him sitting next to and across from Ryan because together they could stir up trouble. Important lesson here from you….enjoy every moment you have and don’t try to hurry life up.

    • Thank you, Terry Kay. And yes, there were often some “crunchies” being served as Terry and really any of his grandchildren got to being too ornery out in public. At home, it was always fair game and tons of laughter. Those are memories we will all hold near and dear forever. And hopefully, this message will help many of us take pause this week and reevaluate our priorities a bit. Enjoy the game, enjoy the moment, enjoy life. Love ya bunches.

  2. Well this post was divinely inspirational and the whole series a joy to take in.

    Such touching perspectives and considerations.

    “Life is a gift, the greatest one of all–let’s try to embrace what’s been given to us. ” … frankly I’ve had my ups and downs in my 2014 (even some so-called haters) but this philosophy just hits home the very clear message… follow your dreams (and dream as far as you want to!) take hold of your dream and run with it. Embrace the ups and downs, surround yourself with positive energies and peoples and try not to waste too much of this precious time we have here.

    The later half of 2014 has turned most joyful and am hopeful for more wonderful things to come.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the series and this last of its messages, Gabrielle. Am so, so sorry to hear of your difficulties and those shameful haters. But ’tis true–life is too darned short to waste time on them. Set your sights on your dreams, and savor every moment.

      So very glad that the latter part of 2014 has been on the upswing, and fingers and toes crossed that trend continues.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to digest and then come back and comment. Your feedback is, as always, invaluable and so, so appreciated.

  3. I’ve enjoyed reading this series too. This one was especially touching. Terry enjoyed the game of life right up to the end. Always laughing, always caring, always loving. The way we all should be. I hope the grandchildren will remember their Grandpa as they were the center of his game of life,

    • Thanks, Mom. And I love what you said about Terry enjoying the game of life–so very true. He was a terrific example for us all, and we do our best to hold his memories near and dear so that the grandkids remember every precious moment they had with him. Even gone, he’s still teaching us to love life, and to always enjoy the game.

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