Today I am thankful for soccer. I have played since I was five years old, competitively once I was old enough, and have only taken time off for pregnancies or when work was unmanageable. As a kid, I learned the value of practice, knowing that even when you are unable to do something the first time you try, persistence, patience and practice pays off. I also learned to work as part of a team – I understood my areas of weakness and learned to rely on others where that area was their strength. Then we worked together for a common goal, everyone put forth every ounce of effort they had because we were relying on each other. This was one of the things that shaped my work ethic.
As an adult, I learned to appreciate those lessons that were not obvious when you were training as a kid. So much of what excels a person from one level to the next with athletics is mental over physical. I am thankful that I don’t put the mental limitations on myself of “not being able to do that” because I know that I actually can if I work hard and tell myself I can.
But what I am most grateful for with soccer are the people that are in my life because of this sport. While I do not do a great job keeping in touch with these ladies, I have a special place in my heart for the group of girls I grew up playing the sport with. We cut the path for our sons and daughters today (and what a path it has evolved into!). As an adult, one of my most precious circle of friends centers around this sport. We have a lot of funny stories around tournaments, games, and all the stupid things you could only accomplish when you are in your twenties. Oh, and then I should mention that I met my best friend playing and I wouldn’t know life without her today!
But best of all, my mom plays still and we have some pretty amazing mother-daughter tournaments under our belts.
So yes, today I am so grateful for soccer.