When faced with a sports icon, it really helps to know who that icon is.
My granddaughter, Sydney, had the opportunity to play goalkeeper against Abby Wambach. Arguably the best women’s soccer player in the world today.
Syd had no idea who she was. When she told her mom that her coach had offered this as a possibility, she was willing to do it. Wanted to do it.
She just didn’t know who she was playing against.
Abby was in town for a fund raiser for Florida Youth Soccer Association. (No, we’re not on a first name basis.) She was playing abbreviated games with the kids involved in the fund raiser, and they needed a couple of keepers, 9-10 years old, to help out. Seems everyone wanted to be on the field with Abby.
No one wanted to go against her rocket shot in the box.
So Syd, unaware of said rocket shot, agreed to play in goal. Along with two of her good friends.
The kicker in all this (seriously, no pun intended) was that she was defending against older kids. Who had semi-rocket shots of their own.
I watched Syd in goal and marveled at her calm demeanor. Nine-years old and calm as a cucumber. (Which are very calm until they’re peeled and eaten. I daresay no one calls a peeled cucumber calm.)
Syd was about to get peeled.
She made some amazing saves in goal. She kept her eye on the ball and moved with the play. Hands up. Aware. Focused. She caught several shots. Deflected a few.
Then came the rocket shot.
Abby had been passing to her teammates for most of the games. She’d avoided taking shots, for the most part. But with Syd in goal, it appeared she couldn’t help herself. She went down and powered the ball into the goal. With a loud “thunk”.
Right past Syd’s head. And outstretched hands.
Abby did have a little celebratory “Whoo hoo!” when it happened. A minor fist pump.
But she also encouraged Syd for the great effort.
Syd’s comment? “If I’d been over a bit more, she’d have gotten me in the face.”
That would have been painful.
What was amazing about this was Syd’s attitude. She’d known–somewhat–of what she was getting into. She’d watched Abby play a game before she went in as keeper. She knew it wouldn’t be easy.
But even in allowing the goal, she wasn’t discouraged. She was courageous.
God calls us to that kind of attitude. Knowing that life is hard. That things happen that we’re not ready for. Things that we don’t feel are fair. But we’re not in it alone. When we’re in relationship with Him, we can face any giant.
“This is My command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged! For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
We all face the giants in our lives–those people, those times when we feel weak and unprepared.
But God in us is courage. Outrageous courage.
Even against the most impressive giants.
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