I was recently reminded not to be a jackass, which tends to be important when you’re a parent.
You’re gonna have these moments … however your mission in life is trying to minimize them. As a person or parent, this should be a great guideline. And there I was on the tip of it, about to cross into jackass territory when my internal dialogue checked me.
I heard it.
It wasn’t a scolding, you shouldn’t do this, watch your tone voice. It was a story. I had heard a story and it stuck with me. I had archived it. Didn’t know when I would need it, but thought it was important enough that I needed to keep it close. Being a sports fan and growing up as an athlete I figured it was just as powerful a lesson as Rudy, Hoosiers, or The Natural.
There I was on the soccer field watching my son and his Bad News Bears team trying to get the ball down the field. Just trying to get it to the other side. Now they’ve had difficulty doing this for the past few games as a number of members tend to kick it out of bounds.
Now seeing how my son is usually assigned the role of defender he never really gets a chance to lead the charge. I guess his ability to check people and clear the ball served the team better as a defender, closer to the goal.
So when he got the opportunity to kick the ball out of the box and down field, I thought he’d be eager and quick to blast it. But as they placed the ball in front of him, he turned trying to find an open teammate. Everyone appeared to be covered and it hadn’t dawned on them to try and move around or closer to my son.
So he waited.
Then I heard my voice.
Kick it! Just kick it!
Then I heard a few others saying … Hurry, kick it!
And he didn’t.
But after a few more seconds which seemed to feel like forever, he finally passed it down field to his teammate. This happened three times in one period.
So when he came in for a water break smiling about the fact that he was chosen to kick it down field, my thoughts were replaced by the story …
It was a high school football game and two Dads were in the stands watching their kids play the game. One of the players, John, was an all-star offensive player, always getting an opportunity to get his hands on the ball and gain first downs or score touchdowns. The other, George, was a defensive player who never really handled the ball, until that night.
There was fumble and George was able to pick it up. He took a step to the left, then a step to the right, and then got pummeled by huge offensive linemen. It was the kind of tackle where you could hear the crunch of the helmets. Everyone in the stands winced. The only thing people remembered about that play was not the fumble but the way George was leveled by the other team
John’s Dad put his arms around George’s Dad and just as he was about to give him his condolences, George’s Dad said …
“Did you see that? Did you see that! Those were the best two moves ever!”
George’s Dad didn’t see what everyone else saw. George’s Dad was beaming with pride as he saw the best offensive move his son had made to date.
So when my son came in smiling, I handed him his Batman water bottle and told him those three kicks were awesome. Maybe he’d get a chance in the next game to kick four.
The danger of being a jackass … avoided.