Important Lessons At Three Year Old’s Soccer Games

WORDS FROM W.W. September 14, 2011
I took in my three year old grandson’s first soccer game last Saturday morning. The men’s bible study group I lead extended some grace to me and pushed me out the door so I could catch the second half of a delightful time.
Three year old soccer isn’t about the game, as much as the experience and the post-game snacks. My grandson had a hat trick- two goals in the other team’s net and one in his own. He was all smiles no matter what. As long as there was a net on the back of the goal he was all giggly.
I learned a few things as I watched and savored.
It’s okay to have fun playing a kid’s game, even though adults are watching. Kids have fun playing when there aren’t any adults watching; and sometimes kids have no fun when adults are watching. It’s possible…just possible…if the parents can allow it…for the kids to have fun even when mom and dad are there. Sometimes the church needs to become more child-like and less childish, more laugh-filled and less demanding.
It’s okay to pull to the side for a moment even when the game is still going on. Our grandson, as well as many others, would take a tumble, get up and run over to mom or dad to get some consolation about the fact that he had some grass stain on his “waist high” socks. After his parents assured him that it would be okay, he was back at it. It was more like a pit stop during a NASCAR race. The race went on, but it was okay for him to stop for a brief intermission. It made me think of how infrequent my own pulling to the side happens.
In 3 year old soccer there is no “Them and Us”. If the ball is going towards the other team’s goal there was a fifty-fifty chance that the team on the defense will keep kicking it in that direction. Three year old’s aren’t as aware of the right direction as they are of their right foot. Right and wrong have been defined in different ways. “Right” is stopping and helping someone back on his feet, or saying how nice his shoes look. “Wrong” is pushing or hitting another player who has fallen on top of the pile; or saying something mean. In other words, right and wrong have not been defined by the white line boundaries, or which goal to shoot on, or even refraining running onto the field to help stop the ball even though you aren’t in the game. A soccer game with three year old’s is more about grace than law, freedom than constraints.
In a soccer game played by three year old’s there is joy. One of the coaches had tied a smiley face balloon to the top of their goal. The result was that both teams were often heading towards the smile. Three year old’s are attracted to joy. I need to learn that as a principle of life: Aim for joy. Detour away from scowls and disgruntlement. I need to consider the question: What really brings joy to my life?

And so it ended! The game was over. Not one of the three year old’s knew what the score was. I’m sure a few parents probably did, but most of the observers also saw life lived on a smaller field with excitement, delight, and laughter.
May the adult generation get a sense of that as we play on our larger fields!

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One Comment on “Important Lessons At Three Year Old’s Soccer Games”

  1. Pasture Bill Says:

    Dear Paster Bill, I think and belive that if the grownups look and watch on how the three year old play without fighting. just as U witnessed with Ur grandson then mabye, hopefuly the WORLD will start to look for and run to God just children do when we fall down and get hurt, just like a mom or dad will look us over to make sure nothing is wrong then gives us a kiss and a hug, then send us back to play.

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