Soccer! Triumph and Defeat

This weekend was one of those up and down weekends. A bit of backstory, my kids all play soccer and for the last two years I have been a coach. Now I was never really an athletic-type and I shunned sports as a youth, usually due to the tormentors that bullied me in school played sports and well, why go where people bully you? One of the downsides of not being in sports, besides the physical stuff, is learning what it feels like to win, and lose. Both are important, something I didn’t learn until much later in life. This weekend was another lesson.

It was our year-end soccer tournament. I coached two teams, a U9-mixed and a U13-mixed. The U9 team was last in regular season play. Despite great effort from all of the players, they just couldn’t win a game in the tournament and finished tied for seventh. Those kids kept playing hard throughout all of the games, had a good chance at winning one. They were trying their best despite an uphill battle, which is hard to do. When you think the odds are against you, many will quit, these kids didn’t. Something for me to look up to.

The other team I coached made it to the finals. Won two out of three games in the round-robin, made it out of our pool to the final. The game was a pure energy rush. At halftime, the other team was winning 1-0. In the second half our team answered back with two goals. With 30 seconds left in regulation time, the game was tied 2-2. Into sudden-death overtime we went. At the end of that 10 minute period it was still tied. Despite the parents on the sidelines arguing the finer points of rules, into a shootout we went. I picked our top five shooters, off we went.

Miss – Miss – Goal – Miss

With only one player left on each shot and we were tied 1-1; Our shooter kicked, and went wide on the net. Missed

Still a chance. Then the other teams shooter went high, to the right, and in the top corner.

Loss!

Such mixed emotions. Very proud of how they did. Nothing wrong with second… except it`s not first. I know how I felt coming off the field with those kids, and all I did was tell them who was on and off and pass them some water. They are the ones who did all the work. A couple of them were teary coming off the field. Such emotion from that.

Everyone lined up, shook hands, got our trophy`s and gone for another season.

It’s a good lesson, knowing how to win and lose. It took being a coach for me to learn it.