I met the girls for dinner tonight all dolled up in my soccer uniform (I’m not going to lie…I look pretty hot). Rachel asked how my ankle was. Maria made a comment about my dedication after I commented that it still wasn’t 100%. And that was the end of the soccer discussion. I took off a little early so I could make it to my 10 pm semi-finals game and subsequently played the entire thing (we had no female subs) and we lost by 1 point (4-5) to the team that damaged my ankle five weeks ago (who beat us 7-0 that time). Probably not a bad thing considering there’s no way we would have all lasted for the finals which were to be played right after.
Moving on. As I was riding the subway home I was thinking about Maria’s comment. I am dedicated to soccer. But I’m also dedicated to just about everything I commit to. I have been that way from a very young age. Sure, sometimes I have to cancel plans, but if I’ve made a commitment to something (or more importantly someone) and I know that someone is counting on me, you better believe I’m going to follow through.
It’s funny that a comment about soccer is what made me think about this because, really, I think soccer is probably where this commitment started. I had a super mom who had us all in soccer and swimming from the time we could walk/swim (I think I started soccer at age 3 and swimming at 4). Every Saturday we went from game to game to game (she coached most of our teams at various points in time) or meet to meet to meet. All summer long we got up early for swim practice. All fall we spent at least one afternoon a week at soccer practice. For a kid, this was a big commitment.
There were times I really didn’t want to play. I was tired. I didn’t want to get up early. I just wanted to watch cartoons like other kids I knew. I didn’t want to be picked up early from sleepovers. I didn’t want to miss out on afternoon play dates. But my mom always reminded me that I had made a commitment to the team and that I needed to be there. And that has stuck with me.
Tonight, I really was not in the mood to play at all. I was exhausted having gotten very little sleep the past two nights…on the tails of a red eye and trying to get over a cold. I haven’t played (or exercised at all because of my lame ankle) in five weeks. I wanted to just hang out with my friends after dinner. But if I didn’t go to the game, we would have been a woman short and that would have severely handicapped my team. Sure, it’s just a recreational soccer league. There are no trophies or prizes at the end. No fans are counting on you to win. There are no endorsement deals waiting to be signed. It’s just a fun game. But I made a commitment to my team and I was not going to let them down.
I say all this not to toot my own horn, but to share with you (specifically you soccer moms and dads who spend so much time chauffeuring your kids to games and practices and stressing over how they play) that what you’re doing is so important. Your willingness to support your children in their commitments and help them see the value of keeping those commitments will make a big difference in their lives. At least it has in mine and I love that I have become someone people can count on. And that’s what you’re doing for your kids. Your not just helping them play soccer and have fun. You are helping them become reliable, committed adults. (Okay, maybe I’m overstating, but you know, I feel strongly about this). So, pat yourselves on the back and when you don’t want to get out of bed on Saturday mornings to get your kid to soccer, just remind yourself how much they are learning in the process.
Now if someone would just teach me how to make fewer commitments… 🙂
And now I must sleep so I can keep the rest of the commitments I’ve made this weekend.