When The Beautiful Game Grows Beautiful People

When you do something for a long time, it becomes easy to lose track of moments. Of true highs and difficult lows.

Not so much with soccer and kids. These are times outlined with black marker, dazzling in detail.

The only confusing part is attaching a particular child with a particular memory.

We’ve been enjoying the athletic endeavors of our six children involved in the beautiful game for almost a quarter century. It’s been a heck of a run, a photo-3remarkable time of watching them grow in skill and character.

That’s a lot of kicked balls.

Watching our youngest experience her Senior Night for her last season of soccer in college was bittersweet. At Lee University in Tennessee, she’s made the most of her last year. She’s made life friends on that team, gals who will be part of her life no matter where they live. There are also those things she’s glad to see coming to an end. Academics in general would fall into that category.

There are seven senior players who are enjoying their final season. At this game, the announcer honored each with a list of their accomplishments and a summary of what they hope to do.

I don’t believe anyone heard what was said. Players, parents and the audience were applauding for the girls as they walked across the field, arm in arm with their parents, to meet their coach at midfield for a bouquet of flowers and an action picture he had chosen for each.

What each senior received from her teammates was a jar filled with messages of encouragement from each girl. Reading how she’d been a woman of influence and character on her team. Seeing how well she was loved and appreciated by them. That impacted Debbie significantly.

photo-2That and the big face.

Each of the seniors had their picture, face only, blown up to monstrous proportions, cut into an oval and placed at the end of a large stick, to be carried around during the game by friends.

They were going for big. Not flattering.

They won the game that night. A sweet bonus. The big heads were bobbing up and down all over the field. Comic relief. But what it spoke of was the ending of an era. Soccer will probably always be a part of her life. Adult teams and pick-up games for fun. But the daily practices, fitness tests, sprints and scrimmages preparing for higher competitions will most likely end after this season.

As I’ve watched all my kids reach this stage, there’s a bit of sadness in such an end.

This is life. God never intended us to stay stuck at one age. In one season.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain…”   Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4, 5

Moving from one season to the next is often not easy. But it is an adventure. For Debbie, she’s striving to end well so she can begin the next season ready to face new challenges. No regrets. Having left her best on the field. Free to move on with hope.

That’s real growing up.

8 responses to “When The Beautiful Game Grows Beautiful People”

  1. Almost crying after this one! Incredible words making a gorgeous picture of your youngest daughter! Love you!



    1. Thanks for caring for her and her journey, my friend. You’ve been faithful. Love you, too.


  2. Sweet. Bittersweet. More sweet than bitter. 🙂 Loved how the coach and team honored and celebrated… and launched those seniors to their future. Well done. Well done, soccer players. Well done, parents too! Thanking God for pictures and memories!


  3. First, Greetings and THANK YOU both for the POWERFUL calendar!!! I’ve been in the ditch lately – not because of pups – but pushing to get my way and you and HE’S right – it rarely feels good!!! And don’t get into the “memory thing” either [even if it is soccer]. I’m adventurous with Debbie – I’m free to move on with HIM in HOPE and FREEDOM!!! [Maybe I’m growing up also!]


  4. alice fredricks Avatar
    alice fredricks

    What a great way to move on to another season of life…without regrets and in anticipation of what God has ahead! You have launched her well, John and Dayle!


    1. Allie, I always appreciate your kind encouragement. You do it well.


  5. Awesome truth. Thanks for the encouragement to enjoy the season even as it winds down. Tom McThenia


    1. You’re kind to be reading this. As parents, putting it all in perspective is hard! Hope you all are doing well. Is Sheila almost done with classes?


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