I can no longer walk a 5 mile circuit in the woods as I did just 2 years ago; however, I do my best to get out every day for a few laps at a county park which hosts little league soccer on its beautifully manicured fields. The fields are a gorgeous green in mid-January (it is Florida, you know), the tall pines frame a bright blue sky and today is was a pleasant 70 degrees with a balmy breeze.
A sign posted on one of the fields reads as follows:
A MESSAGE FROM THE KIDS
we are kids
it’s just a game
our coaches are volunteers
the referees are human
no one playing today will win a college scholarship
no dogs on the field
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Who posted this sign and what was the need? The kids are gathering for fresh air, exercise and a friendly game of soccer with other same-aged kids. Has someone standing on the sidelines forgotten that they have come to watch kids kick a ball around a soccer field? Parents, maybe? Are over-zealous moms and dads projecting onto their children the same set of priorities with which they structure their lives?
This is America, the land where the boys with the biggest, most expensive toys win. This is the home of NYC’s Madison Avenue which dictates via personal communicators (they used to be called phones) what successful men and women will wear, drive, and buy for their homes. This is America, the home of tremendous wealth in gated communities and unimaginable poverty in city ghettoes. We are the land of the free and brave forever struggling to keep up with the Joneses who always seem to have a better income, a bigger car, a more luxurious house, and kids who outperform our kids at school and at play. This is where “you ain’t nobody unless you’re the winner.”
Moms and dads standing on the sidelines – grow up. The kids don’t buy into your bullcrap perspectives. And kids, kudos to those of you who crafted the sign at the corner of soccer field 5. Put on those sneakers, get out there and win big remembering that life is like a soccer game. It’s not how many points you score or which team has the official victory on the scoreboard; rather, it’s all about the integrity with which you have played the game and what you have done to earn your trophies and medals.