Lessons From Soccer

I love sports. I started playing many sports at a young age and really enjoyed the camaraderie and competitiveness I would get. Some were team sports such as soccer, volleyball, relay races and some were individual sports such as swimming, tennis and running, where the only person you can depend on is yourself. So it was important I shared my love of sports with my children hoping they would learn some lessons too which they could apply to life.

My second son Lucas, loves all kinds of sports too, especially soccer. We started him in soccer at the age of 3 because his older brother was playing it. It was also because Lucas had anger management issues. When he would get mad, he would get really agitated and his hands would curl up into balls and his face would clench up and would just shake and have a hard time breathing. Our pediatrician advised us that perhaps sports would be a good venue for getting his anger and frustrations out. It seemed like a good venue as he would always be so spent after training or a game that he would never have meltdowns anymore.

When school started, soccer was also good for him as the people he met there became his main group of friends. In school, the sections are reshuffled every year so it’s difficult to really make a good set of friends.

He has been playing for 6 years already and is now a varsity player for Ateneo.

Some time ago, he had an important game, he was competing against the top school in his age division, a school they hadn’t beaten yet and if they won they could be champions.

I watched him play and saw the other schools guarding him from every angle. “Lucas, you can do it.”, I whispered to myself.

Lucas was cornered and there were tears of frustration in his eyes as he felt helpless and could not score. I could see him start wiping tears away from his eyes.

Luckily, Coach called a time out, and Lucas came out. I quickly went to him and asked him why he was crying.

Lucas: “Because I can’t score, because it’s too hard. My team is depending on me.”

Me: “Lucas, if you cry that means you are giving up. Don’t cry during the game because it’s not over yet. You still have a chance. If your other team mates see you crying, they will lose hope and give up. So don’t think about them. Just do your best and have fun. It’s just a game and there will be more games ahead. What’s important is that you do your best and have no regrets.”

So Lucas went back on the field, with dry eyes and a full heart. I could immediately see the difference in his stance. He was quicker, dodging players and finally getting hold of the ball and being able to score. After that goal, the entire team picked up on the momentum and suddenly had boosts of energy.

That day, the team lost the game, but I was happy because Lucas was able to score a goal. I was happy to see him not give up and have fun out on the field.

The team, despite losing, were in good spirits because it was a close fight. It was the closest they had come to beating the other team and they were proud of it.

As Lucas passed by me to go to his next game, he kissed my cheek and said, “Thanks for the talk, mom.”

Today is Lucas’s 10th birthday. I love you very, very much Lucas. I am so proud of you.

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  1. Great article and sports definitely boosts confidence in a “not so threatening” environment… better to learn the hard knocks of life on the field rather than on the pavement! 🙂