It’s the smell in the blades of grass and fresh dirt
It’s the sun that is rising or falling or high in the sky
It’s tired joints and aching muscles
It’s the sport I’ve grown up loving
Soccer has taught me something that I think most students or teenagers have failed to learn. In society today we put so much value on number one, often forgetting that number two three and four were the ones who put number one on that pedestal. Society is caught up in showcasing their own talents but not attending to their struggles. Everyone wants to be the best and not admit that maybe they fall short in some areas, but soccer has taught me that I don’t need to compete to be the best.
The concept may be confusing since soccer is, in essence, a sport where you compete to be the best, but to get to the top I’ve learned that I can not lean on my own abilities but that I must rely on my team. Mia Hamm, known as perhaps the best female soccer player in the world considers her success based primarily on the abilities of her team. She says: “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” She recognizes the need for team.
On a soccer team there are players who are great at shooting the ball but horrible at passing. There are players who can defend the goal from being scored on like their life depends on it and yet there are others who barely understand the defensive stance. A team is all about compromise. To be an amazing team there must be the notion that some things a player will not be good at but that is why there are eleven of us on the field, so that someone else can pick up my weakness and I can use my strength to pick up theirs.
Soccer has taught me I don’t need approval from people who don’t value even my weakest attributes, because those that can value me for my strengths and weaknesses have been the people that have led me to success. Teams don’t point out each others flaws they recognize weaknesses as an opportunity to grow.
I’m not sure when everyday life turned into such a huge competition to see who is the best and who is the worst, but when it comes to people, I don’t think there is a ranking system. I don’t think there is an ability to put a higher value on one person and a lower value on the other, because we all share this: we are good at some things and we are bad at other things, and that is why there are so many of us. There are so many people we cross in our everyday lives that can pick up our weaknesses and showcase our strengths.
This lesson has become so vitally important to me, because I see the way it connects in everything I do. Whether it is school work, sports, extracurricular activities, friendships, or any other relationships. My understanding and appreciation for people who are not like me has grown in beautiful ways because I recognize that our differences in strengths and weaknesses is what makes us all human. It is what makes relationships thrive, and what organizes life from the messy chaos that it is into a journey to find a team of my own.
WRITTEN BY Natalya Haddix