My 2 boys are into soccer. I don’t understand much about the game but they love it.
For the second time, Dwight School Seoul sent a team to this year’s Songdo 7 Soccer Tournament hosted by Chadwick International. International schools gathered for the weekend (October 22-23, 2016) with teams from as far as Jeju. The soccer games were organized per grade and the Dwight School Seoul’s team registered under the Grade 4 level. So, my fourth grader and his team felt the weekend’s excitement while my first grader contented himself with watching and wishing that next year our school will have a Grade 2 team entry.
Our boys team ended a very good Second Place at the Grade 4 level.
I am getting ahead of my story. They put up with a good fight and a good spirit. You see, last year our boys entered the competition with hardly any preparation. They ended at 6th place and we, parents, could only wish that they were sent with good training. The school’s Athletics Team must have felt our disappointment (losing is one thing but going there without any preparation was a big let-down to our passionate young players) so this year, they managed to get the teams to have weekly trainings in preparation for Songdo 7.
Ending Second place after vying for the top spot this year made everyone happy. And it isn’t because we aim low for our players. They played really well. The game ended with a 0:0 for both teams. The winning team bagged the First place via a shootout. Were our boys sad considering how it ended? Not at all. They had smiles and pride all over their faces.
I realised then that these kids, competitive as they are, are being groomed to be compassionate sportsmen.
Two events had made an impact on me that weekend. One, while the boys were competing, one of our players fell down. I heard the coach of the other team directing his players “Pull him up, pull him up”. I thought, that was nice of him.
Second, one of our players did a good, solid goal. Unfortunately, the goalie of the other team got hurt. It was no one’s intention. It comes with the territory, so to speak. The referee rightfully gave a score to our team but our own coach conceded it to be a non-goal ending the game with a 0:0. He gathered the team and the parents to have one official version of the incident. He asked his team if they were comfortable with scoring seeing that somebody was hurt and the team agreed to not consider the goal a score to their team. He emphasized to the parents the lesson of sportsmanship that he wanted the boys to have.
I did not agree with his reasoning. In sports, you are not responsible for the competitor’s weakness. But it was the coach’s call and we can’t let the boys down. He has consistently shown to the kids the value of sportsmanship and we, parents, cannot let him down on that. It was his call and we had to respect that. Any slight showing of disagreement with the coach would send the wrong message to the children. Good thing, none of us did that. Our children respect their coaches and the boys’ team, in particular, exceeded their own expectations and ended with the greatest honours in terms of the lessons in playing good sports.
On a personal level, the competitive side in me wanted my son to be out there in the field with a roaring lion’s aura. But he is as he is. My gentle lion, hahaha. He is constantly being acknowledged for his soccer skills. He is good, no doubt (hey, don’t listen, I’m the Mom!). But he didn’t display that aggressiveness that good players must have while on the field that weekend. And it got me into an-analyzing-my-son’s-competitiveness-spirit frenzy that my husband had to constantly remind me of how great our son is.
One of the most valuable feedback I got from one of the teachers was “He is very well-liked and respected by his peers that when he says something, they listen“. The teacher added that if he learns to use that more often, he will be able to maximize his leadership potential.
And that led me to saying, “See, anak, you should be more aggressive. More assertive. You have the leadership qualities in you“.
Which led my son to talk to his Dad, “But Daddy, aggressiveness is not leadership. I am in the Student Council and my friends respect me in soccer. What else do I need to do?”
Hubby talked to me. Enough. Give your boy the credit he deserves.
My son. He has once again given me a valuable parenting lesson: Back off, Mom.
(photo credits: Erica Lan)