Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, and four little boys last Saturday gave me a heaping dose that started my morning on an uplifting note.
It was a rainy morning and all the coaches and parents on the sidelines kept waiting for the entire team to arrive, but they never did.
Only four of the 10 players on the team were present and typically six players are on the field at a time.
With the other team fielding a full squad with a substitute or two, we were forced to play with a two-man down advantage, meaning it was six on four. It was not looking good in the early going and an uneven game seemed inevitable to all of us.
However, at the risk of being overly dramatic, considering its 5- and 6-year-olds playing soccer in the county’s recreation league, something special took place on that soggy field that morning. These guys played their hearts out and showed a lot of guts. So much so some parents got a little too into the game and by that I mean me because poor Carson was getting pushed and pulled all over the sideline by my excitement.
Our team members ran up and down the field with gusto and worked together as a team in what seemed like the longest game of the season. Miraculously, the score was tied at zero until the waning minutes when our team scored a beautiful goal.
Clearly, our team was wearing down though as the game continued, and holding on to the lead looked impossible. The other team seemed destined to tie the game and had a number of scoring opportunities.
In goal during this onslaught was my 5-year-old son, Beckett. He hung tough and managed to complete the shutout, despite chatting me up the whole time asking if he could have some candy after the game if he didn’t allow a goal.
During these final minutes, there was one play that stands out. The other team kicked the ball deep into our defensive zone and Beckett had a decision to make — stay in the goal or come out and try to beat the other player to the ball. He made the right decision and sprinted out of the goal and was able to get to the ball first by a few steps, sending it back up the field.
That was a proud moment for sure and we ended up winning 1-0. Of course, nobody was keeping score though.
More than 100 emails come into my inbox every day and most are junk, but one stood out this week that I am glad I opened.
I probably would not have read it if it didn’t come from a friend of mine, Earl Conley, who I owe a beer because it served as a handy reminder to keep an eye on the big picture during what can be a trying parenting adventure.
Here’s a transcript of the email:
“Son: Daddy, may I ask you a question? Dad: Yeah sure, what is it? Son: Daddy, how much do you make an hour? Dad: That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing? Son: I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour? Dad: If you must know, I make $100 an hour. Son: Oh! (With his head down). Son: Daddy, may I please borrow $50? The father was furious. Dad: If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for this childish behavior. The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money? After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think: Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $ 50 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door. Dad: Are you asleep, son? Son: No daddy, I’m awake. Dad: I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $50 you asked for. The little boy sat straight up, smiling. Son: Oh, thank you daddy! Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father. Dad: Why do you want more money if you already have some? Son: Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do. Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you. The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness. It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts.
Do remember to share that $100 worth of your time with someone you love. If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family and friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our family. Some things are more important.”