I’d done this before. Many times.
Some things never change.
Soccer tournaments in another city. A weekend in a hotel filled with players in muddy cleats and soccer parents wearing team shirts. Needing to be at the field by 7 a.m.–too early for Saturday morning. Hotel coffee and cold eggs. Heat and humidity compounded by rain throughout the weekend.
You’ve got to love it.
I did this with my six kids.Traveling around the state and sometimes the country. Cheering on the sidelines as I better learned the rules of play. Screamed for fair play and unbiased calls with team parents.
I’m now doing it with the grands.
Hotel coffee hasn’t changed. Eggs haven’t gotten warmer. Being at the field at 7 a.m. was a given.
Doing it with Sydney and her mom put a new spin on the experience.
I didn’t know most of the parents. The stadium chairs folks now use are nicer, more comfortable. Siri makes it easier to find good coffee shops for pre-game pick-me-ups.
On the field, nothing has changed.
Eleven players face off against each other, sizing up their opponents, ready to kick some ball.
I met new parents who supported their kids’ commitment to this sport with over-the-top enthusiasm. Parents who knew the game well and could call it with the best refs. Others who were learning the terms and would ask, “What was that call?”
It was a community brought together by commitment. A group of strangers becoming friends because they love their kids and want to give them the chance to succeed in something they enjoy.
I’ve got friends whose kids play football, lacrosse, baseball and volleyball and participate in cheering. It doesn’t matter if they’re leaping in the air and landing in splits or crossing a ball to a teammate in front of the goal.
There’s pride and encouragement on the sidelines.
We were made for community. For times of being together to encourage each other intentionally. To be supportive when one of our own is hurting or when loss happens.
Community requires us to be real with one another. In our social-media-driven culture, that can be hard.
Being real requires us to expose those parts of us that we don’t want people to see. The needy and broken parts.
It’s how God created us. To need each other and Him. Working better together than alone. Our weaknesses are offset by someone else’s strengths. Our strengths supply help for other’s needs.
Does this happen naturally?
Do water and oil mix easily?
I fight admitting I need help.
I want to appear competent.
The truth is I’m not sufficient for my own needs. Jesus is. And He often uses others to supply what I require.
It’s hard playing on a team where each player feels competent to win a game on their own. When they realize each member plays an essential role, they become a competent team. Better able to win.
If we could learn that what we offer each other makes us all stronger, maybe working together wouldn’t be such a challenge.
Life is, after all, the ultimate team sport.
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