Thursday, October 22, 2009


This week has been one of the most confusing weeks I have had in some time. Stemming from nothing more significant than the 7-9 year old soccer team I coach, my heart has been severely convicted this week. I suppose some back story would be appropriate.

You see, I have coached my oldest two sons soccer team for the past three years. In those three years, our teams have somewhat dominated the competition we played. I take zero credit for this fact but rather afford it to having a core of four kids who have been superior atheletes to the others their age. For this reason or maybe other reasons, many parents requested this year to have their kids on our team ( an honor) and we ended up with a team of 18 kids. Well, with that many kids it is impossible to dole out equal playing time (a duty that I think is most important) and keep your best players on the field consistently. Needless to say, our ability to win has suffered greatly this year. Therefore, my goal this season has become teaching these kids leadership and sportsmanship as well as more soccer fundamentals.

All was going well until a recent match against team in a nearby town. Quickly after the match started it became obvious to me that the refs, both teenage kids, were not aware of the rules in their entirety. I on the other hand am very much aware as I sat on the rules committee this year. Those are hours of my life I wish I had back.

As the game progressed I kept reminding the ref on my side of the field that the rules were in place to keep these kids from being hurt and that should he continue to not enforce the proper rules, someone would get hurt. Then it happened. This boy said to me that I was wrong about one of the rules when I knew I was completely correct. He proceeded to tell me the rules I was telling him, the rules I helped write, were not the ones he had received.

Deep breath Dave. I asked the kid for a moment as I pulled the PDF of the rules up on my iPhone. As I boiled on the inside all I could think was this kid is calling me a liar to my face. This kid is saying in front of my team that I am trying to cheat. He was saying to these kids who I have been stressing honest, fair play to for months that I don't practice what I preach. I cannot stand for someone to tell me I am wrong when I KNOW I am right. The fact that it was a boy, a young and unlearned boy doing this only made matters worse.

Yet, goodness prevailed from inside me. I showed the young man the proper rule and requested that he apologize to the team and myself. He obliged. We can play ball now right. All of a sudden I saw something from the corner of my eye darting toward me. A woman, dressed in green and with gleaming eyed was sprinting toward me. I stepped backward and suddenly this mad woman was in my face chopping her hands together inches from my mouth saying that I, the person who was in the right, was somehow wrong for calling the referee on his failure. Turns out, this lady was not only an official for the town we were in, but also the referees mother.

I continued to retreat from the lady explaining to her that the boy had apologized and he will tell her he was in the wrong. Finally I simply turned my back to her and she left. I was so angry that I could not tell you what happened the rest of the game other than, as I predicted, one of our players was badly hurt with no whistle or penalty being called.

I am not writing this to show an example of being a Christian or to discuss rules. I am writing this because after this episode and for days after, until I asked my church members to pray for me, I was overcome with a feeling of guilt and pain that I have not experienced in some time. So, I am writing this for advise or thoughts. What should I have done differently? Why did I feel painful guilt? How should I have handled this differently? Your thoughts will be appreciated.

-- Post From My iPhone

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