This fall, we entered a world new to us as parents: team sports. Henry was old enough this year to sign up for the local soccer league, and had been anxiously awaiting the day. Practices began mid-August and by the first Saturday in September we were all at a soccer game.
An under six soccer team is a sight to behold. You always have one kid who's picking his nose or fiddling with his shorts when the ball is headed right for him. In all honesty, I expected Henry to be the kid who lays down and sucks his thumb in the middle of the game. He, who has resisted sleep since the day he was born, is perpetually fatigued and has a tendency to whine. I was surprised to find on that first week that Henry was active in the entire game and only started showing signs of fatigue in the last few minutes. He got in there and kicked the ball, chased it down, and did his best to take it away from the other team as well. Who knew?
What I have figured out now, three games into the season, is that at least on our team (Go, Eagles!) the kids seem to take turns on whose week it is to be the space cadet. Henry did not have his finest game last week, when he had been up at the circus until 11pm the night before with his Grammy and Papa. (Grandparents think that our kids have early bed times because we--the parents--are mean and grumpy. They forget that if our kids don't have an early bedtime, they become mean and grumpy!) At one point, Henry even tried to take a little nap on one of the goal posts! And the kids who seemed like a lost cause in that first game were in the thick of things this week, fighting for their kick at the ball, very much a part of the game.
It made me think about how as a team, everyone has bad days and good days. Instead of relying on the star of the team to carry everyone else, in a good team everyone feels like the star at least some of the time, and each member feels the responsibility to help the team succeed. If we all do our best, then hopefully someone else will have a good day on our off day and we'll still pull off a win.
I'm going to bring this up tomorrow night during Family Home Evening because we have been talking to our kids about family unity a lot recently. We've memorized together a scripture on the subject and try to bring up every day how our actions and words can unify us or tear us apart. And I think that the team spirit analogy may bring this home to them.
It's a good thing to remember in a marriage as well. Sometimes we resent that our spouse is having a bad day (at being a spouse), when we just need to cut them some slack and recognize that it's a good day for us to carry the team to victory. Marriage is the perfect setting for the team mentality rather than the "me" mentality.
Anyway, think about how a team mentality might help a relationship in your life. Then go out there and bring home the win! And if you're in the neighborhood next Saturday, the Eagles' game is at 10:00 am!