The Soccer Season is over. I just put away soccer balls, shin guards, soccer shoes. As I smeared on the shoes some Vaseline before putting them away (an old trick to prevent leather cracking) I felt sad. As I thought for a moment what I was grieving over I realized that I didn’t have enough of soccer practice and soccer games. Sure, it was getting colder and darker sooner, but I wanted for my children to have more days to enjoy playing on an open field. It’s fun to chase after a globe, learn tricky foot-work, conceptualize and execute tactical schemes, dribble through little bodies and try to score.

I kept rubbing in the Vaseline. The joy of little faces meeting for practice returned to my mind stronger then ever. So did the complaints over the long drills, and the exciting comments over a goal made or one saved. The greatest satisfaction comes when children (and their parents) realize that winning or losing a game is not so important. What matters most is honor, integrity, generosity, sportsmanship, learning about oneself and how to best be an integral and contributing part of the team.

Vaseline can be very messy. But you don’t need much. A little bit goes a long way. You don’t need to do much to see a little face beaming with a broad smile. Just be available. Be there. Children simply want to see us have fun, sweat, run, fall, and laugh with them. Yes, they listen. They are eager to learn and ready to give it all when they find inner motivation. All they need is to be taken seriously. Children need to see adults who care, listen, and get involved with them. A little genuine involvement goes a long way. Hearts get warmer when the giver and the receiver are one and the same. Children and adults get involved in a dance that goes beyond soccer and moves out of the soccer field into a spiritual hall where human beings have no age and display the mark of the eternal. All created for God’s glory and God’s glory resplendent in all.

As the soccer shoes shine like new on account of the Vaseline, grief gives way to the promise of coaching a new Soccer Season next Spring. Guess whose heart gets warmer and looks at the perspective of being enriched some more?