One of the reasons why we have participated in sports is because I truly believe it’s a great avenue to help shape your character. I learned many valuable lessons about teamwork, work ethic, social strategies, commitment, and leadership via track and softball, and I’m a proponent of allowing you two to experiences these attributes in an organized athletic context.
Parker, you have recently learned a life long lesson about hard work and determination. We were new to your soccer club this past season, but we tried out for this particular club because it’s rated as one of the highest in the nation. We thoroughly enjoyed the season, and all made many new friends. By the end of the season, the club had made a decision to tier the teams. Instead of having 3 teams with the talent evenly spread out, the club wanted to have an “A” team consisting of the top talent, a “B” team, and a “C” team…and so on for the age group of U10.
Because this form of select soccer requires a tremendous amount of time and money and travel, Daddy and I decided that if you didn’t make the “A” team, we weren’t going to stay with the club. We think you are a great little player, but you’re our kid, so we may be a bit biased. We explained the situation to you, and we set a goal-“A” team or bust (well, if it didn’t work out, we were going to go to a less intense select club in the area). So, the backyard training began. You practiced every. single. day. for the weeks leading up to the tryouts. You juggled. You shot. You did throw-ins and penalty kicks. We practiced corner kicks and all the foot skill drills you’ve been taught. Some days, you’d protest, but I reminded you that if you wanted to achieve success, you had to earn it. Our family motto is “You don’t have to be the best, but you have to try your best”, and in order to do that, you needed to have practiced.
The days of tryouts approached. I felt confident that you were going to play your best-even with the poison ivy issue (see previous post). Before you walked on that field with 50 other boys competing for about 8 spots, I grabbed you cheeks in my hands and I said “Just be the best Parker you can be”. You smiled and said “I got this.”
In the days to follow, we prayed about it at night together, and we were careful to not just ask for what we want, but to ask for God’s will to be done. Sure enough, when all was said and done, you did make the “A” team. I spoke to the new coach in person, and he said “Parker has got what it takes. I’ve been watching him when I’ve visited games and at training sessions, and he just keeps getting better and better.” I am so proud of the hard work, the effort, the determination, the consistency, the blood, sweat, and tears that went in to the preparation. Parker, you set a goal, worked hard, and achieved it.
Now the concern is the time commitment. We are praying that there isn’t too much church that has to be missed. We are praying for no Weds night practices. We are praying for someone else to live closer to us (the players are all spread out in the STL area) so we can carpool..especially on Sunday mornings so I don’t have to miss church. We are praying that you get an adequate amount of playing time. We are praying that being among the best will challenge you to be better. We are praying that you make new friends, as this is almost a whole new group of boys. We are praying that your character will be shaped and strengthed. We are praying that we have opportunities to minister to families through this. We are praying that God gives us, as your parents wisdom-is this path the one we are supposed to follow, even though it requires great sacrifice and a major juggling act on my part?
Lots of loose ends to tie up, but I did want to tell you, Parker, that we are so proud of you…not because you made the “A” team, but because you set a goal, and achieved it. This goes way beyond a soccer league. This is a life lesson that will stick with you way beyond your 9 years.
Now…let’s go out there and earn a starting spot. Mkay?