The Dreaded Final Whistle
As the last few seconds of the game was fast approaching, I knew it was time. Time for the dreaded final whistle. With each shake of the opponent’s hand, regardless of win, loss or tie, it always happened.
My thoughts were never if, but when? I observed the world around me. Team-mates running full of joy towards their loved ones. Expect for me. I preceded to place one front in front of the next, and walked across. That’s all I ever knew. I kept hearing friends and families in the distant. With each step I took, I slowly realized and expected what was going to happen. I could feel the enjoyment I just experienced slowly drifting away. Constant criticism and hardship shouldn’t be connected with youth soccer. I always wanted to be like those around me. Yet, that seemed a million miles away. I thought that playing sport was about sharing moments with the most important people in my life. But I wasn’t, I began to wish my parents never came to watch.
Playing soccer wasn’t supposed to be full of fear and anxieties, it was supposed to be……… Fun. A feeling of being lost and immersed in the game that I love whilst playing with my friends.
As I approached my parents, my eyes were fixated on the ground below. As I stepped into the car, the feared noise of the door closing “BANG”. I’d entered that world again…
Immediately, without reluctance “Son, what happened? You weren’t even there? It was so embarrassing. Why do you play the game Ben?”. I tilted by head back on the seat and stared out the car window. I started to question, will this ever end? How can I make it stop?
I wanted to tell my parents that sometimes I won, Sometimes I lost, but every time I played I had fun and learnt something. That was the important part.
I knew before long, I’d get there.
In my own little world, fully of imagination and dreams.
These youth athletes don’t play the game for wins or loses, they play for hope, faith and love.
Assert no pressure, be no expectations, simply show love, and let them PLAY.
The Sporting Influencer