My son was playing soccer in another town and his team was beating the other team. We were ahead by at least five goals. In fact the home team hadn't scored even once. I listened to two different voices echoing across the field. One was our team coach - whose voice was firm, pressing the boys onto even greater plays and smoother passes. The other voice was "whimsical" for lack of a better word. (I have been reading Bob Goff's book and I recognized the whimsy of it immediately.)
The opposing coach said things like, "You guys are having fun out there right?" "Anyone want to run for the ball - I will give a prize to the first one there." At first some of the parents by me thought he was mocking his players. But there was a unmistakable gentleness in his voice. His laugh was rich and contagious. A sound of someone filled with love not fierce competition. He began listing out prizes as the night went on that he would give away to the one on his team to ... score a goal, take a shot, receive a key pass, etc.
Towards the end of the game in an effort to not give up the fight, the coach announced he would buy the whole team a slurpee if someone would score a goal. Then the whistle blew three times announcing the end of the game with a score of eight to zero. The losing team jumped up and down like champions and hugged each other. One player yelled "we won ... sort of" and then high-fived several of his teammates.
I was amazed at the attitudes all these boys had. A coach had set the stage for these boys, nearing adulthood, with a healthy sense of perspective. Life is bigger than a soccer game and bigger than a test or a job. It is about loving and caring for others in a way to makes them celebrate.
After loading in our vehicle, my son and I drove to the local corner store to buy a snack for the ride home. There was the home team, celebrating in the gas station over their loss each with a slurpee in his hand. Love does the most amazing ... and unpredictable, unconventional, and unassuming things.
I told my son as we drove away, "life isn't a scoreboard; the winner is the one still standing at the end of it with their heart intact." I don't think he understood what I meant, but that's okay. I will just have to show him instead of tell him.
Be secretly incredible!
Here are a few coaching quotes I discovered. Enjoy them. Write them done. Or better yet ... pass them on. Is there someone who could use just your brand of encouragement today?
The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.
Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.
Measure yourself as a coach not by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished given the ability of your players and the strength of your competition.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts.
A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are.