Tyler blog – It’s a little long, but I’ll try to keep it interesting.
A few weeks ago, Beth said “I think it would be good idea if our oldest played soccer on the Upward Sports League at church.” What I heard was “I think it would be a good idea if we spend extra money, waste a lot of gas going into Mansfield, and spend lots of time we don’t have being a translator/coaching a team.” I begrudgingly agreed, and all of my predictions came true.
We asked him if he wanted to play soccer on a real team, not in our back yard… Does a bear poop in the forest? I wonder why we even asked. Afterwards we did explain to the other kids that they were a little too young, but in a few years they would get a chance too. It wasn’t because we liked our oldest any more than the rest of them. I’m sure every family has to manage perceptions, but it’s still very important for us and our young family.
Now back to the “I told you so” part…
- It wasn’t as much money as some leagues, and the church does a good job to keep the cost down, but after we signed up, we needed to find cleats, shin-guards, and a few other things. Beth did a good job of bargain shopping and finding everything we needed, but I still felt it was more important to pay off the kids before we start accessorizing them.
- My truck has a 20 gallon tank that allows me to go about 350 miles before the low fuel light starts. 350 miles gets me to work five to six times a week with maybe one or two small trips extra. With my $70 a week allowance for gas, I usually have about $5 or $10 bucks left over for a vending machine run during my strenuous mouse-clicking days at work. Add two trips to Mansfield each week, and suddenly my snack money goes in my tank (the other one).
- Our coach, Coach Rudd, does an excellent job with the kids, is patient, never raises his voice, etc… everything you want in a coach. The problem is, he is coaching two teams at the same time. I saw where this was going. Even though I have read the book “Boundaries” by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend, I can’t stand to see a need with no one stepping up to fill it. I became an assistant coach.
So we have had two weeks of practice, and today was the big game. It’s 1st grade soccer, so my expectations were pretty low. I remember when I played soccer at that age that they used to hang different colored towels over the goals so we knew which one was ours. Expectations were further lowered when four out of our six-member team couldn’t make it to the game. I passed up two weeks of Ms. Freshley’s chocolate cupcakes for this?!?
After finding a couple of ringers to at least field four men, we began to play, and we were awful The other team was murdering us, but since it was Upward, we know that they were murdering us with a Christian attitude and the love of Jesus. Goal after unanswered goal. It was hard to watch.
During the breaks in between periods/quarters/innings (I’m not sure – there were six of them), I told our oldest, “You are a team. The only way you will have a chance is if you work together.” I have to confess, I ripped that line off of Russell Crow in “Gladiator”, but it is absolutely true. “You have to pass. You have to spread out. You have to get in good spots for your team-mates to find you” It wasn’t all at once, but little-by-little, our little team began to show signs of life. Then we got a goal! The next thing I know, my boy scored not once but twice!
I don’t remember what the final score was since Upward doesn’t keep score. I was planning on keeping score myself, but after how the first half of the game was going, I thought keeping score would simply be an exercise in quantifying how bad we were (We suck this many). However, the second half they played together, and it paid off. They were competitive, and that made my happy. Our oldest was super proud, not just that he did good but because he was on a team that needed him. I had to take back some of my negative attitude and concede that my beautiful wife might know what she’s talking about… sometimes. (Hold that thought – not about me being wrong – the one before it.)
Tonight, I was on the computer, and I wanted to listen to music and our oldest wanted to talk about soccer, since the game was fresh on his mind. I thought an excellent compromise was watching the official music video to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, “Waka Waka” by Shakira. One by one, the other kids floated in, drawn to the computer by the dulcet tones of another Colombian native singing in their own tongue. Our oldest daughter once again speaks for the group.
Translated to English for those reading:
Her: Who is she?
Me: That’s Shakira. She’s a Colombian too.
Her: Just like us?
Her: She’s really beautiful. (long pause staring at the screen) She’s a good dancer. (long pause staring at the screen) She sings really pretty. Guys, look. This lady is a Colombian just like us! (long pause) She’s really pretty!
Me: Yeah. Her hips don’t lie.
They were mesmerized! It was super cool for them to discover how amazing somebody from their country was, and look at themselves with a new sense of pride. Suddenly they had a renewed passion for their culture and people. They were proud of their Colombian heritage. Their team.
(FYI… I haven’t told them about John Leguizamo yet.)
When it was over, they all wanted to watch it again. (Hold this thought too)
Rewind a few weeks ago. Beth and I have been working our butts off around the house for these kids, and it has just about killed us. We had a management meeting and discussed distributing some of the work load to the children for our own sanity. It wasn’t anything major- just a few folded clothes here and there, a vacuum run every so often, and turd patrol (for the dogs, not Darth). It’s been wonderful. We realized we have fourteen hands between us, and for the small time investment in teaching them what to do, it is already paying big dividends.
Case in point: lawn care. Yesterday, I needed to get the yard mowed and cleaned up because we have had a ton of rain, and it was starting to look pretty ragged. For the average person, this takes about an hour and a half. For me it takes closer to two hours because I’m anal. When I got home, everyone was in their work clothes, and we were done in an hour! Amazing! (Here’s the last thought to hold).
God is teaching me a lot. Being orphans, I think the idea of “family” is a little foreign sometimes to our kids. However, almost every kid understands what a team is. We’ve told our kids that our family is a team. When we put on that last name, we wear it proudly. We bring honor to it, and we do the best job we can. We work together, and when we do, we accomplish more than what we could individually. We help out each other. We share in successes. We comfort each other in defeat. We are a part of something that is bigger than ourselves, and each one of us plays a vital role. We love each other. Isn’t that what a family is anyway?
Beyond earthly families, there is another one we need to think about.
I Corintians 12:12-27
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
I hear all the time that “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian.” Yes. All you need is to accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ to be a Christian. However, if you are a Christian, you’re a part of a team, and your team needs you! You need your team. Tomorrow is Sunday. GAMEDAY.
I love sports. I’ve come to appreciate them over the past ten years as the best unscripted dramas to unfold. They are the ultimate in reality entertainment. I’m excited that my son wants to participate in them and play. However it pains me when I see more unbridled passion over a football or baseball game over hollow man-made victories than I do for the God of the universe that allows us to be on his team fighting the armies of darkness.
Please suit up. Please play. Your team needs you.
At the dinnermesa,