ok, had Ali's 1st soccer practice yesterday and I was a bit nervous. This is her 3rd year playing but her coaches this year are turning up the volume. From the first phone call and coaches meeting, they have been animate about playing to "win" and not have much room for girls who don't pay attention or loaf off. This was going to be a serious season and more competitive. (mind you they are 7) The coach's daughter played on a team last year with a few other future olympian types and they crushed us like 11-1 and 9-1. Now we are on that team with this coach and daughter who is pretty good and an attitude to boot because she knows it. I went in just wanting to give the coach the benefit of the doubt and that in a real life situation, he wouldn't be that hard core.
When they went through some drills and one on ones, the coach matched up Ali with his daughter because it was evident that she was the best defender. And I thought to myself, this will be interesting, what will my emotional/overly dramatic girl do with this tomboy who is out to kill? Well, for the next few minutes, Ali frustrated the heck out of her. They jousted and jousted. The competition level kept increasing the jousting turned into pushing, then shoving then tripping. My daughter was going blow to blow with this giant in her life and unrelenting. Eventually Ali got shoved to ground a last time and broke down crying as the coach addressed her. (the coach handled it great) I thought though that fun Ali had her feelings hurt so I asked her. It turned out she was frustrated that the other girl was cheating by pushing her and that her feelings weren't hurt all. Rather, she stopped crying, wiped off her tears and went right back after the ball.
I was BEAMING! I was never the most talented athlete, nor the most skilled, but nobobdy outworked me and nobody outdetermined me. It was my competitive edge. It took me pretty far in athletics and honestly as far as I wanted to take it. Competitiveness is so overdone in our culture but its a part of who some of us are. Its a part of our make-up and wiring. Its a part of how God uses us in prayer and ministry. I have stared down the enemy in the lives of many Christ followers and it came from much practice facing dominating pitchers or bruising tailbacks. That competitive nature is still very much alive in me and when I see it in Ali, I was just so stoked and so proud. Bring on the soccer season!