I was driving to soccer at the weekend with our youngest son and he and I had an interesting chat in the car. Their team had been on a bit of a losing streak lately and he was becoming discouraged that they weren’t going to have another win. Apart from the usual discussion about the fact that:- winning isn’t everything, it is how you play the game that matters, try your best, etc. the conversation turned to not giving up.
Having been a soccer mum for quite a few years, I have quite often heard these statements used for kids of all ages (including mine!) who were frustrated with their lack of success or progress in the game. I have even heard people say that they don’t see the point of kids sport. I’ve heard them say that they reckon that unless a child is truly gifted and likely to forge ahead into the top-notch/serious money zone, then what is the point?
Why do parents run themselves ragged weekend after month after year, to ferry the kids about to all these sporting fixtures when they are more than likely NOT going to be a top class soccer/football/cricket/netball/etc.etc. player?
This is not the point.
I am sure every other parent who cheerfully (or sometimes not so cheerfully) gives up a fair chunk of their weekend to run around for sport would also say that there definitely IS a point.
Teamwork. We all need to develop and learn the skills and ability to work as a team to achieve a common purpose. Bashing about on a soccer pitch on a Saturday morning might not seem like much to some, but it is teaching kids valuable team work skills. So is turning up for practice during the week, when sitting home in front of the TV or gaming console is a more appealing option. ( for the child that is, NOT the parent). As I tell my boys – “You are part of a team, so you need to pitch in and do your bit and support your team”.
This might seem a bit ‘rich’ coming from someone who has all the sporting ability of a retarded rhino. (ie. me…) The point is, however, that another huge lesson to be learnt from kids sport which translates to life in general is resilience. Keep trying and don’t give up.
Back to the chat we had in the car on the way to soccer on Saturday. I tried to come up with a way to explain it that made sense. Never give up. That sounds simple but sometimes you just want to give up. You have had enough. You don’t see the point anymore. It is too hard. Giving up is the easiest thing to do.
I asked him to imagine a rainy day. The rain goes on and on and on and shows no sign of stopping. You are getting wet. It is cold. You are miserable because there are so many things you can’t do because it is too wet to go outside. The ground is slippery and you might fall and hurt yourself. The washing stays on the line for days since it can’t possibly get dry with all this rain. Everyone starts to get ‘cabin fever’ because they are cooped up inside. You start to despair that there is never going to be sunshine again.
Then the rain stops. I asked “What happens then?”
The sun comes out. He smiled as my simple little explanation dawned on him and the lightbulb went on. He got it. I hope he will remember it. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel and eventually, the sun WILL come out and it will be a beautiful day.
They won 7-3 at soccer by the way…….not that it is all about winning, but it just goes to show… Never give up!
Our boys with their Grandpa, who DOES have lots of sporting ability and know-how :)