Sideline

This weekend my son’s soccer team, the Blasters, suffered a blistering loss. The score was a nil to we-stopped-keeping-count kind of a situation.

After the final whistle, parents were going over to the team  to pick up their player and saying things like “great game, Blasters”, and telling each player “you did such a good job”. I wondered if these parents had taken their eyes off their smart phones for one minute to take a peek at same game I had just watched, because it was NOT a great game. 90% of the players were barely even trying after the second goal had been scored on them. I was trying not to judge the parents praising the team, but I’ll admit that I did. I’m careful about my words, so after a poorly played game like today, I used candid phrases like “thanks for playing today” or “thank you for trying”. If you did a good job, I’ll tell you. If you didn’t, I’m not gonna lie to you.

The reality was, the team played horribly. The kids weren’t communicating, they weren’t hustling, they weren’t playing their positions, they didn’t have their heads in the game, and they were clearly not committed to or even attempting to win the game. The saddest part is that even the coach gave up and by the fourth quarter of the game the entire team, except for the goalie, was playing front line on the offense. No one was telling the players what position they were supposed to be playing, so chaos ensued leaving the goal unprotected allowing the other team to rapid-fire score against them until the final whistle blew and put an end to the misery.

After the game, Dan and I found ourselves brusquely tossing out orders for the kids to get in the van then practically road-rage driving home.

We were disappointed. Not because we lost, but because this team holds a LOT of potential and it was frustrating to watch them suffer and struggle and give up so quickly and easily. Without direction and guidance, there’s nothing but chaos and defeat.

I’m sure God knows just how I felt today. He’s my biggest fan, seeing me as totally FULL of potential, skilled, practicing, knowledgeable about how to play the game and committed to the team. He comes to every game and sometimes cheers as I do my part to play hard or even help steer my team to victory. But sometimes He suffers through watching me run out of steam, heading for the sidelines, not listening to the coach, or worse, off doing my own thing.

God doesn’t get mad at me. God doesn’t give up on me. He keeps coaching, directing, disciplining, encouraging, examining, guiding, explaining, waiting, challenging, growing, believing.

Although today was just brutal to watch, it gave me a new depth of insight into God as my Father and how he relates to me as his little soccer player. It was good for me to feel what I felt today. It’s a poignant reminder of how I don’t want to let down my biggest fan.

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