Last spring, I had the opportunity to coach with Mennonite Sports Organization (MSO) at LMH. Mom signed Charity up to play, and I volunteered to coach her team, with Mom as my assistant. It was a lot of fun! We had 2 practices, and then 6 weeks of games. It was quite an experience. Five and six year olds are not my specialty or preferred age group, but it was fun to see the girls learning and running and having fun with their friends.
This fall, I got a call from the organizers, asking if I would coach all 16 boys that were signed up. Instead of only having one team of 6 kids (played 3v3), I would have the whole group for an hour. We would learn a new skill, do a drill or two, play a game or two, and finish up with scrimmaging each other. I asked Brad to help me, since he loves this age group, and we came out for the first day.
Oh man! Was I in for a surprise! Five and six year old boys are wound up with energy and competitiveness that surpassed the girls last spring. It was quite a task to get them to listen and then perform the skills. Needless to say, I learned a lot from the first day. Brad and I decided to switch things up a little bit. The rest of the season went very well! It was so amazing and special to see each of the boys develop over the course of the 8 weeks. Some had played before. Some had not. One little boy didn't like soccer at all. And a few of the boys couldn't keep their hands to themselves. Some liked being on the ground a lot more than on their feet (slide tackling). And one little boy was so terribly shy on the first day.
This little boy, Seth, was only 4 years old, but told his parents he wanted to play. He was so shy the first day, that he hid behind his dad the entire session. The next week, he stayed with his dad again, but this time, his dad had a soccer ball and was trying to kick the ball back and forth with Seth. Sometimes Seth would participate, sometimes not. Still, a little bit of progress. I think only 1 or 2 weeks later, Seth jumped in with the group and stood around and watched curiously as the other boys went about the drills and games. Before Brad and I knew it, Seth was running around, having fun and even talking a little bit with the other boys.
One of the special things I got to witness was Brad's gentle spirit and prodding of Seth. Brad would be Seth's buddy when we needed partners and would help him out during our scrimmages. Seth took an instant liking to Brad, and soon was talking and pulling out his competitive personality. In only 8 weeks, we saw quiet, shy, uncertain little Seth turn into a confident, energetic, enthusiastic and happy little boy, not afraid to jump into the group!
What a blessing it was to be able to coach these 16 little boys...
1) Getting the boys together to teach them the next drill or game.
2) Doing our cheer at the end of each session: "1... 2... 3... Goooooo Blazers!!!!" very loudly!
3) Eleven of our 16 boys. What precious little gifts from God!
Front Row L-R: Brett, Adonyias, Silas, Timothy, Seth