My soccer boys must face a team next week that we angered greatly last week.
We did nothing wrong. Outside of beating them. After the match, they sat on the turf in various stages of disbelief. An older, more experienced team tested and topped by a band of upstarts. It’s a sweet feeling to pull out a win like this.
And now, we must go to their place.
Moments that shape us aren’t limited to wins. Moments of discomfort and fatigue and dismay contribute to that ever-changing DNA of self. No matter what happens next week, the team we will convene as the next day will in part become a result of this match.
It’s a daily life for us and it involves way more than soccer.
Traffic or a medical condition might work in the same way for you. Politicians, storms, political storms and more can tug and rip at us and seem to contact on us and limit who we can become. But without their heavy bearing, we can’t become our best true selves.
We must also realize we’re not confined and held captive to these factors; instead we are the solution to them, the way out, the means to overcome.
… like a piñata
I’ll walk on a soccer pitch now and the only thing I feel is the sun on my face.
I’ll deal with my team soon enough. I’ll unfold paper in my pocket and review a lineup. I’ll walk around among the boys as they warm up, patting backs and quipping about new haircuts and the need for one. Desperate need in some cases.
In that moment all I know is that kid’s status (you’re starting at forward – let’s get after it) and their reaction (are you crazy, coach? I’m a defender!)
Coaches, parents, officials … they’ve had their swings at me. Like a piñata. Their words and actions came on fields like this and possibly this very field. Will their words haunt those grounds? No. Look at me. I’m still here.
I once held a girl as she cried moments after she’d let in the deciding goal in a championship match we’d had won up until the final 10 seconds.
In that moment we shared the pain. I don’t know where she is today. I hope that if this loss stings still that she’ll remember that she wasn’t alone on that muddy field. Her teammates joined the hug because they’d been shaped also in the same circumstance.
She went on to wonderful moments on the pitch that season and I hope also that those memories pervade, because as it turns out she wasn’t the lock at all that limited her potential, but all along, she was the key.
Has anyone noticed?
There’s a banality to some growth, a stagnancy seemingly baked into the fabric of life.
In the moment it can feel like wheel-spinning. It can feel as if even if you accomplish incredible feats you might look up to see no one has noticed. Incremental growth feels like a setback when we take aim for the stars or at least the tops of really tall trees.
Then we encounter those points of revelation that feel like the winning goal and the first slice of pizza fresh out of the oven.
Are we looking at it as a slice, just one consumable portion, or the whole? The whole overwhelms me. In life, not pizza. In life, if I look up it feels hopeless. Yet the tiny battles I can wage and win on the stages makes me think anything’s possible.
It feels like a fight you’re swinging in but it’s actually a moment of surrender sometimes.
Chipping away. Knocking out this post and not worrying about one I want to write for someone else. Not thinking yet of the beer I’ll have with a friend or the dinner I’ll grill for the girls. Here. Now. Positive. It’s just as easy to fixate on limitations and annoyances.
Once your mind takes that exit, it’s tough to get back on the better highway. It’s exit only. One-way street and probably unpaved and wrought with gridlock.
Who wants that? I’m grateful for the sometimes rough road ahead, the opponent who wants another shot. Win or lose, whatever happens will shape the next stage of me, and of those boys, and isn’t that the direction we all want to take?