A personal risk I am taking this year is playing outdoor soccer. My girlfriend approached me with the idea and it took me about 2 weeks to think about it. Ridiculous, I know. I wanted to play to meet new people and to try the sport. I was hesitant because I didn’t think I could commit, I wasn’t fit enough and of course, I didn’t want to look like a fool.
I finally agreed to join the “Pylons” soccer team, a mixed bunch of soccer players from experts to novices. I was welcomed by my teammates and encouraged when many players told me they didn’t know how to play the game either. It didn’t matter because it was apparent that no matter what our skill level was, we all had a desire to learn and support each other!
Yesterday’ s game was a turning point for our team. One of our best players decided he wasn’t going to score today. He would simply pass the ball. We laughed. Nick is very competitive and we rely on him to get the goals for our team since most of the girls on our team are novice players. But, he kept true to his word. One of our other male teammates got us up two points in the first half and then he relaxed a bit too.
By easing up on the competitiveness and the glory of scoring many goals, these skilled players would get close to the net and then pass the ball to a Pylon player, usually one of us girls. If we weren’t just standing around and was “with-it” enough to receive the pass, it went in. And, that’s what happened to me! Twice! I could not believe that I kept up with my Nick and received his pass to score. What an amazing feeling. My teammates congratulated me with shouts and pats on the back. Having never experienced goal scoring before, it’s hard to know what to say or do in that moment. I smiled and hugged the girlfriend who convinced me to join soccer.
The confidence I received after those two goals was instantaneous. I ran harder, put more effort and started cheering on my other teammates, wanting them to score too. When I played, I focused on making more passes too. I thanked Nick and Craig for their assists and felt energized by the experience. They were just as excited, as I was.
The sweetest moment came when my girlfriend got the ball and passed it to me as I was running for the net. Lo and behold, I scored again! A hat trick! My girlfriend says she wishes she could take credit for the skill of getting the pass right to me but laughs it off as sheer luck. In telling my husband my soccer story later that evening, I too laughed off any skill as “Thank goodness for Nick and Craig and just being in the right spot.” But you know what? It doesn’t matter how or why it happened. I got the job done when it needed to be done. Growing up, I was never part of a sports team. The teamwork and support I received from my Pylons teammates made me feel like a kid. I felt like I was on top of the world, and drove home from the game, with a permanent smile. Today, I am feeling aches and pains but the feeling of successful teamwork trumping individual effort is still with me. So much so, I had to share my story.
What risks are you taking in your life? It doesn’t have to big. Just stepping out of your comfort zone a little bit creates a path for more risk-taking. Have you been part of a team outside of your work? I used to think, ”I don’t need to be part of a team. I have my family. I’m not missing out on anything.” I guess I can read this blog when I ever start thinking like that again!
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