soccer teamI’ve never seen my sons score a goal. In 5 cumulative seasons of minor soccer, I’ve never seen them score.

I’ve seen them take their turn in net and let in many goals, and stop a few, but I’ve never seen them deke through players, push in on a breakaway, and pick a corner.

Zacharie (number 8) is a defensive player. He’s happier running back than pushing forward and he’s good at it.

Zacharie soccer gif

Charlie is still learning the game and in his first year of “teams” he is still finding his feet.

I went out to watch Charlie’s second game of the season. He started in goal, everyone at this level of 3 on 3 takes turn in the net. He had gloves the size of oven mitts and moved around his crease well, making himself big, and paying attention to the play.

Charlie Soccer Goalie

Then came a shot, he lifted up his leg like a flamingo, turned away from it, and it went in.

I haven’t seen my sons score goals, but I have seen many go in their nets. In the last 2 years, neither of my sons have won a single game.

After a change of shift, Charlie got to play forward. He stayed mostly on the fringes of the play, running hard, shuffling his feet as he moved, but not really doing much of anything. If the ball came to him, he kicked it away.

He had one big chance, a breakaway from centre, but quickly kicked the ball into the corner, and then shuffled after it with the other mass of players, moving around like a herring ball.

Charlie soccer breakaway

And so the game went on, his team behind 10 (or more) to 1, when the play of the game happened. A play that had my heart swell with pride, and confirm that the decision to put my sons into team sports where they don’t necessarily excel, but do have fun, was the right one.

One of Charlie’s teammates was challenged hard with the ball and took a big tumble. Charlie, shuffling behind the play as usual, stopped. He turned to his friend, reached out with his hand, helped him up, and patted him on the shoulder.

My arms tingled.

Some people put their kids in sports with hopes they’ll get scholarships or pro contracts. They dole out money for private coaches, extra practice time, and push to have them in the most competitive amateur leagues.

That’s not how we roll.

I’ve never seen my boys score a goal, but I have seen them become a superstar at helping others, trying their hardest, and learning teamwork.

That’s good enough for me.

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