Words At A Soccer Game

I almost walked up to the window and gave her a piece of my mind. 

This last weekend was a long weekend of soccer games, ending the season. My son (11) had 4 games, while my daughter (7) had one. It was a lot of emotions, yelling, and celebrating.

There were two defining moments this weekend. 

The first was when I showed up super early to my daughters game, before she or the others had arrived, and about the time the previous games were wrapping up. As I parked and got out of the truck and stood in the parking lot, I noticed a small SUV running nearby. I paid little attention to it until the rear hatch opened. The mother of a 9-year old boy was sitting in the driver’s seat, and the father was putting the camp chairs in the back while their son was approaching. 

She immediately and loudly started laying into him. 

“I don’t know why we even come. I’m not going to come watch him if he is just going to wuss out and take a break.” The dad, clearly upset with his wife, tried to get her to calm down repeatedly, to no avail. 

It was clear she had left the game in annoyance and gotten the car ready to flee the situation. While she continued to berate her son, even as he approached, my heart broke for the kid. It was super hot and humid. Of course he needed a water break. 

I almost walked up and gave her a piece of my mind, wanting to tell her that she was choosing a meaningless rec league soccer game over the heart of her son. Her cursing of him was causing damage that would take years to untangle, that he may never fully heal from. 

The second moment was the next day, after two overtimes and several points scored against my son’s team due to some poor calls (Yeah, I’ll say it. I’m biased, but whatever.), the championship was stolen from them at the last minute. The boys played their hearts out. They were clearly the better team, but had to settle for “runner up” trophies. 

They were all stunned. Some were crying. We were all exhausted and sunburnt and sweaty. 

But another emotion was swelling: pride. 

The coach, a friend of mine, did something I hadn’t seen a coach do. On the sidelines, we all surrounded the team, while he spoke to us about the greatness of the team- how much they had improved, how hard they had worked, and how much he enjoyed them. It was obviously heartfelt. 

He then slowly handed out the trophies, taking a moment to publicly bless each player. One by one he called them up and talked specifically about how each one had contributed to the team, fought hard, and overcome. He talked about how each of these 11 year old boys each had demonstrated high character and exhibited the strength of manhood that lived inside of them.

He blessed them, and in doing so beat back the forces that threatened to label each of them as failures. 

I am not a big cryer. At least I didn’t use to be. But I choked back thick tears as he talked about my son, and the other boys. I pulled my son aside afterwards and told him that I had seen the lion-heart of a man come out in him on that day and I was so impressed by him and proud of him. 

Our words matter.

The people in your life, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, wives, etc, need your words of blessing to heal the cursings that threaten them every day. One of the greatest communicable attributes of God that he gave us at creation was the ability to heal with our words. 

Who in your life needs to hear from you? Who needs your blessing today?