I have been a soccer mom for a lot of years – like fifteen. In hours, that is about three gazillion. Or maybe four if you count soccer laundry. I never played soccer and, truth be told, I never played any sport unless I was “having fun” (which really meant entertaining other people with my lack of athletic prowess aka coordination). But being a soccer mom? I rock that. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at some variation of this:
But this post is not about me. It’s about the club my son plays for now, and has played for throughout most of his youth. We started out with another club when he was small, playing recreational soccer. But he took to it like a fish to water. He got the chance to play on a Div 1 Competitive team as a call-up the year he was 8 or 9 (it’s a blur) with the Ottawa Royals. That coach saw something in him immediately and he was asked to stay. Oh the joy. The excitement. I can still remember that very first game and the shining pride when he actually scored a goal. So he stayed. And he was coached by awesome people who could see that he loved this game. By the time he was twelve he was an all around flexible player, purposely so because of the coaching attitude that emphasized all general skill development.
We left the Royals for a couple of seasons to get what we then believed was the best coaching experience in town. And he learned a lot about what to do with a ball. Ball control, passing, first touch, headers, turning, shooting…definitely learned a whole lot about the ball. But himself? Not so much. He left that experience defeated, frustrated, less flexible in his play, and soccer had become a task instead of a joy.
The Royals welcomed us back without recrimination or “told you so”. We just rejoined the community and carried on as if we’d been on an extended vacation. And we have been there ever since. This club is run through volunteer effort and many of the same people who were there nine years ago are still there today. They are tireless in their efforts to make this a strong soccer community. They believe in this sport as a conduit to healthy living, and to being a good thing for individuals, youth, and families. They are an impressive bunch.
We have been so fortunate to have our son immersed in this experience through these important, formative, growing years of physical and identity development. It’s not easy to coach a bunch of adolescent boys. But our son has been coached and had team managers that have seen the best that he can be and have persistently drawn that out. They have been integral in teaching him so many things. About the ball? Well, ya. But about perseverance, sportsmanlike conduct, respect, cooperation, dependability, self-control, maximizing strengths, handling failure, integrity, taking responsibility. They have contributed to help him grow into the fine young man he is becoming. We have deeply appreciated their role in sharing the values we have felt were so important to healthy development.
So now it’s our chance to do something to say thanks in a tangible way. The Royals has a team ranked first to win the BMO team of the week. First prize is $125,000 for a field that will benefit the club as a whole. All they have to do is stay on top of the votes. The more votes we can get for them, the more we will feel that we have said thank you for what they’ve done with our son. If you could, would you please vote? Here. At least today. And, maybe even every day for the next three? Because soccer moms will do anything, including beg.
And you know what? The most important part of this post is that because of the coaching at the Ottawa Royals, soccer is no longer a task…it’s come full circle and is back to being a joy. He loves it and believes in Joga Bonito – Play Beautiful. As a soccer mom, that makes it all worthwhile.