Friday, May 27, 2011

Get in the Game

About the same time each year, soccer invades my life.  So, last night while I watched my middle daughter play her first game of the season--voice going hoarse from cheering and bum going numb in the stands--I noticed something interesting.  They all wanted the ball.

Okay, so nothing new, right?  Kids are kids, after all.  Running in a clump is what they do when playing sports.  Well that, and stealing the ball from their own teammates.

But, that wasn't the interesting part (entertaining, yes, but not my point).  Which is what, you ask?  No one was playing their position.  And you know what?  That left three quarters of the field wide open.  If just one had broken away, shouted for someone to give them the ball and received a pass?  Boom.  That kid would've been long gone down the field.  So far ahead of the pack, no one would've been able to catch her.  Guaranteed goal.

Life's a little like that, isn't it?

We often run in packs.  Feel safer in the numbers.  Like to blend in.  Spend so much time running in the clump, that we forget about the rest of the field.  About what's out there for us if we'd only just stretch our legs and explore the terrain.  But, breaking away is scary.  And hard.  It takes real effort to step away and go exploring.  To be unafraid to make mistakes.

Hmm, yeah. . .mistakes.  No one wants to make them.  But, hey, mistakes help us learn.  And learning is a part of the game.  There isn't an explorer anywhere--past or present--who hasn't encourntered pitfalls, tumbled into situations beyond their control and had to think fast (become creative) to work their way out.

Sure, it's safer in the group. . .where we rarely make mistakes.  Never have to step outside our comfort zone, try news things or push ourselves up the field into the scary 'unknown'.  But, the same old, same old isn't where the action's at.  Success comes when you play your position.  In other words. . .to your strengths, to the rare uniqueness that is You.  No one can achieve in the same the way you can, because there isn't another person alive like You.

I remind myself of this when a new challenge scares me.  Or when an old one suddenly throws up barriers that make me want to run the other way. . .back to the safey of the group.  When that happens, I pop some M&Ms (comfort food is a necessity in the game called Life), tighen up my clets, take a deep breath and push ahead.  There is a solution for every problem I encounter. . .up, over, around, under. . .whatever.  I simply have to be brave to explore the possiblities and find the one that best suits me.

So, be fearless.  Jump into the game and head down the field.  I think you'll be surprised how fast the goal posts arrive when you settle into the position you were made to play.


  1. Great post! So true. Playing to our strengths will be what gets the goal. That and thinking out of the box. :-)

  2. My son just started playing ball and I had this very discussion with a group of them who were... ah... ripping the ball from each other, tackling their teammates for it, and then crying that they'd been robbed!

    In life, don't things just go smoother when we each put in our part and not try to steal someone elses?

    Great post to get us thinking!

  3. Great and inspiring post. You know something else about breaking out from the pack? Your mistakes are much more visible, but your victories are as well! Play to your strengths and be honest about it. You will win everytime (even when you don't).

  4. I LOVE this analogy! It's definitely hard to break away from the pack, but we all have different strengths. Thanks for the awesome reminder.

  5. Sigh... so true. Great post!

  6. I love this post about being able to jump in and just take it head on. No fear.

  7. What a great post! Very thought-provoking. It can get so crowded and stifling when we're all in the middle of the same pack. But the "safety with numbers" thing keeps us right in there, believing they know something we don't. LOL Here's to being brave and going for the uncharted territory. :)


  8. I'll confess, I never really got into soccer until last years World Cup. I had a blast drinking beers with friends and watching sports at 10 AM! :-)

    I really stopped by to say 'thank you' for your support during my A-Z blogging month. I've created a fun "no strings attached" blog award for you and all of the other awesome bloggers who offered feedback and encouragement.

    You can view the award and my thank you note here:

    Hope you are well and that I see you around in the future!


  9. Awesome, E.J.! Thanks a ton. Will head over and check it out!

  10. Great post, and we can all be inspired by this. I've realised that essentially, life is about relationships. No one's an island. We inevitably have more fun when we share with others. As long as each person is allowed to shine and bring each of their uniqueness out, it's all good.