As I’m sure you’ve already heard, we’re doing a soccer program this summer. That’s right, I (try to) play soccer once every week. But more importantly, we pick up the kids from the coalition and drive over to a nearby park and learn soccer skills and always end with a scrimmage at the end. (Driving to the coalition is a feat in of itself: Shoutout to my sister for driving the coalition van so tactfully!)
Throughout practice, there’s always bad attitudes, kids pushing each other, players not listening to their coaches, you name it.
BUT, there’s also always a lot of laughter, smiles, hard work, learning, and encouragement.
That’s what we want. We want to teach these kids principles like teamwork, leadership, discipline. In order to get there, I know we’re going to hear complaining and bickering, but something good is always going to come out of it.
The first week of soccer, there was one player, named William, who saw one player push another one down. He got really upset and started walking off by himself. One of the coaches and a volunteer went over to talk to him.
Afterwards, they told me that he had revealed that his dad was abusive to his mom and his grandma was an alcoholic. He was incredibly disheartened and saddened by the recent violent attacks in Orlando. He said he got really nervous and sad whenever he saw any sort of fighting. The coach and volunteer comforted him and convinced him to get back on the field to play.
The rest of the practice, William did just fine. Being one of the most well behaved players, he was picked as team captain when scrimmage time came. He played well and was smiling and enjoying himself.
This is the purpose of this program. To show love, to unite individuals, to encourage empowerment. There have been lots of incidents of hatred lately, not only in Orlando, but around the world. But hatred will never win, simply because love exists. We need to instill these principles in the minds of our youth, so they might learn to rise up if ever face hatred. And William is just one example.