|Katelyn practicing soccer in our yard.|
The Strikers, Katelyn's team, were struggling against the Blitz that night. To start it all off, the coach wasn't able to be there. Without her leadership, the young team was struggling. It seemed no matter how hard they'd drive the ball, it would disappear from them and end up heading the opposite way.
I watched the team we were playing and was very impressed with their coach. The first difference in this team was their flag. They had designed a flag that each player on that team had signed. When they'd rally, they'd gather around their flag. The second thing I noticed about this team was the coach's contant string of compliments for his players throughout the game. He was intense, but in a very positive way. The players really responded to him and played hard for him.
Right after half-time, the Strikers once again had the ball down within reach of scoring a goal. I inwardly groaned as the Blitz, like so many previous times took the ball and brought it toward their scoring posts. With my eyes on the ball, hoping they would not kick another one in, I became aware of a disturbance up the field. I looked back to where the skirmish a second ago had been and there was my daughter, sitting on the field, surrounded by opposing Blitz players, and a ref looking toward the crowd as if wondering what to do.
I hesitated for a moment, wondering if I could run into an ongoing game and then raced toward Katelyn. She was in a ton of pain and was struggling to get up. Apparently her toe, which she dropped a plate on previously, and then continued to injure thereafter, had gotten kicked. The pain was not only in her toe, but her whole foot. She couldn't walk on it and so I loaded her on my back and carried her, piggy-back style, off the field.
As we were walking back to our side, the opposing coach began clapping, followed by his whole team, on and off the field. They were respectfully acknowledging and saluting Katelyn's game she had played and the fact that she was "up." I have seen this a number of times in professional sports and college sports, but never at one of my children's youth games. Instantly, tears sprang to my eyes as I thanked our opponents for their generosity.
This coach went "above and beyond" not only for his team, but for my daughter, as well, and I am in awe of his abilities. Maybe if more coaches would take to heart his teaching methods, our children would learn the real deal of playing sports. They would gain more respect for themselves, their team, and others. They would learn that sportsmanship is the greatest thing they can glean from the game, not just a win.
Thank you, Blitz coach and team, for your example.
(We did end up getting Katelyn's foot x-rayed and it is only badly bruised, which we were informed takes as long to heal as a break.)