Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Before You Yell, Play 90 Minutes in Their Cleats

This was originally posted several years ago, but it is always relevant to talk to parents about their kid's involvement in sports! (also there's a little life lesson for EVERYONE at the end!)


Two things I observed over the past week (both at Shoreline Soccer) that gave me pause to consider my own behavior.

The first happened while Liam was a footwork clinic (put on by Dan McAllister of FC Joga Bonita). On the opposite field a game was being played by two girls teams; I would guess they were U8 (maybe U10). One dad was standing directly behind the goal loudly admonishing his daughter, the goalie, to play "better". Actually, he was yelling and screaming at her "use your hands", "go out", "cut the angle", etc. When the other team scored, he would throw his hands up in disgust and walk away... not aware that she had turned to see if he would tell her that it was okay.


Most striking to me about this situation was that I was fairly confident, based on the size of this man, that he would not be able to play goalie at any level of soccer. Quite frankly, I think his daughter was making saves that he couldn't dream of making.

The second incident happened last night at my own soccer game. I didn't have my "A" game (by the way, my A game would be considered a low C by most). We lost the game, partly due to my poor play on defense. I can't account for why I played poorly. I was putting forth a good effort, I didn't give up on plays, I was concentrating on having good technique, I talked to my team-mates; in short, I did everything a coach would tell a player to do, but I was just off. My shots were poor, my passes were a bit long or a bit short, my long balls into the box were nowhere near my teammates heads. It was frustrating.

Sometimes that happens. Sometimes I play well, sometimes I play poorly.


Here's where I'm going with all this. Over the years, I've watched/coached A LOT of youth soccer. Few things bother me more than the parents who take their kids to task for not playing well, when the parents have no idea what it is like to be out on the field. Most of the time, when a kid is not playing well, they know it. They're trying, but it's just not happening. Most of the time, they are putting forth their best effort, but their A game is simply escaping them.

It seems parents don't understand this, and I think it's because they have no idea what it is like to play a complete game within the context of a complete season.

My bad game won't bother me too much, because next week I'll have an opportunity to do better, and hopefully I will. My team-mates are always gracious with me, and so I'm comfortable knowing I wasn't great but maybe next time I'll be the one who picks the team up.

But if I was little Jimmy or little Suzie, and I had to hear my parents tell me how poorly I played after that game, I'm not sure I'd want to go back...

So there's this: PARENTS, BACK OFF!

but there's also this: Be really careful about drawing conclusions about someone (not just in soccer, but in all of life), until you've played 90 minutes in their cleats!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Don't Assume the Preview is Anything Like the Movie


Have you ever decided to not see a movie because you were so unimpressed by the preview?

Marianne and I like to get to movies early so we can see the previews, and as we watch them we will whisper to each other whether or not we want to see the actual movie.



Sometimes, we just don't go to a movie because of the preview.

Sometimes, we go in spite of the preview.

Sometimes, we go because of the preview.

Over the years, I've realized that movie previews rarely do a movie justice. There have been some movies with terrible previews that became instant favorites for us. There have been some movies with amazing previews that turned out to be unbearable. I'm not sure why I would expect it to be differently. How can I possibly expect to understand the worth of a 2 hour movie after seeing only 30 seconds of mixed together clips?

Isn't life just like that?

We get a small taste of a situation and decide immediately whether or not it is for us. We see a brief encounter between two people and quickly draw a conclusion as to the nature of their relationship. We hear a snippet of information about someone and assume we are now qualified to judge them.

Proverbs says, "The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him."

Recently, I've been learning the importance of not assuming you have the whole truth until you've examined the matter yourself. The words of James have spurred me to be one who is "quick to listen" especially when I'm not sure I have the full story.

I don't want to miss something really good because I jump to a conclusion too quickly, and I don't want to find myself in the middle of something really bad because I believed a preview.

That's where I am this morning. If it's good for you, then great!