Just recently I jumped on the “How I Met Your Mother” train. Up until about a month ago, I never watched the show. Thanks to Netflix streaming and the new Roku in my work-out room, I’m catching up on a rather fun loving and sweet show. The show is certainly not earth shattering, but it’s slightly humorous and light hearted fun.
It makes no sense that a father would be spending hours and hours, and days upon days telling his children 100’s of stories on how he met their mother, but belief suspended, I love the idea of passing on stories or life’s antidotes to those who come after us.
We don’t have children yet, and I’m not sure if we ever will. Our doggies are children to me, but it’s sort of challenging to impart too much so called “wisdom” on them. For the sake of this blog, I’ll go with the notion that I am or will be a Mom.
And in the role of Mom, I dispense my own “How I met…Myself” moments of insight…
It was many years ago and I was helping my brother-in-law coach my two nieces’ soccer team. The girls were in Elementary school at the time, so I use the word “coach” very loosely. We ran some drills, and we showed up on game days to urge the girls to action. One would have thought I was on the sideline of World Cup Soccer games due to the quickness of my pace up and down the sideline and the excitement in my voice as I blurted out instructions that typically went in and immediately out of little ears.
They were short seasons, and short games. But, the experience was a reminder of many things to me, and I have to be honest in saying, I miss it a bit.
My brother-in-law and I would blurt out instructions and advice on a continuous basis, all while parents on the opposite side of the field did more of the same. I’m sure on the field, to the kids, it all sounded like irrelevant gibberish. Half the time, it was a battle just making sure kids were standing up on the grass and not sitting down playing with it. So, the adults were obviously taking the game much more serious than the second graders.
Regardless of the minimal importance of it all on a competitive setting, I did enjoy the encouraging nature of coaching. There was one moment in those couple of years of coaching that sticks out to me most. Well, there are many moments, but one that still warms the cockles of my sometimes cynical heart.
PUT ME IN COACH
There was a young girl on the team that was certainly one of the better athletes. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear she’s playing in high school now. She was one of the few that really grasped the concept of the game, and she had the talent to match her interest. Usually we barked out guidance to the kids only to receive blank stares in return. On this day, our young star actually heard my guidance on the sideline, and went back into the field taking the approach I suggested. Not only did she listen to me, and hear me…she actually went back into the game and took action. She didn’t seem fazed by the positive results of listening to my direction, but I nearly passed out on the sideline as I watched. My shock was less at the results, but more so in the fact that she took my lead. And the bigger payout was how good it felt to see her do so well. She ended up making a great play and charging down the field. To be honest, I don’t even remember if she scored or not, I was just so thrilled to watch her doing so well. It was a huge reminder to me then, and even know, that even when you least expect it, something can warm your heart. I’m being honest in saying that watching her do so well, and knowing I had a hand in making it possible, actually felt better than if I had even done it myself. It may not have been a Bo or Izzo moment, but it sure makes me smile even years later.
SHE WHO SEES HAIRY ARMS
On that same soccer team there was also a young girl that provided another reminder. She was much less an athlete than our star pupil, above. This girl was a bit awkward and out of shape and for whatever reason mostly enjoyed following me around and asking inane questions. Although sometimes tiring and often frustrating, she wasn’t a bad kid; mainly a handful. She questioned everything, and at its core, I don’t have a huge issue with that; she was obviously interested. But, what she also questioned, were the things I’m sure most of us have experienced a time or two; she seemed to ask embarrassing question after embarrassing question about me.
I have a dark complexion and am a dark haired young woman. Yes, I still say, “young woman.” Having that type of complexion also means, at least for me, that my body is certainly not hair free. I have, relatively, hairy arms (at least for a female). This was a cross to bear as a child, but nothing that brings me any anxiety as a grown up. There is something about kids, though; they see all of these social imperfections like candy in the desert.
This rather out of shape and inquisitive little one spotted my arms, and spotted my hair. And I’m sure she worried that I was unaware of the situation. Without a single look of worry to insult, she came right up to me asking “why do you have so much hair on your arms?” And, as luck would have it, she didn’t take me to the sideline and whisper it into my ear, but rather asked it loudly in the middle of the field while I explained a soccer drill to a group of players. I really don’t’ remember how I responded, or how the other kids responded, but to this day I remember her asking me that silly but honest question. I chuckled a bit about it that day, as I drove home, and I actually chuckle now. It’s a reminder to me that filters are a good thing. And though I sometimes look back on childhood with nostalgia for the magic time of wonder, I’m rather glad that years have brought me filters. Of course, the filters break from time to time, namely during sports events, but I own them, nonetheless.
Filters are good, and some humility and forgiveness for those that lack filters, is even better.