I always thought my boys would be baseball players. Having been raised in a baseball family, I assumed that we, like my parents before us, would spend our summers at the ball park, cheering on our would-be Major Leaguers.
So when it came time to sign up for baseball this summer, I was shocked when Ethan told us he didn't want to play.
"Well, you have to do something active," I told him, hoping he'd see the light and sign up out of guilt.
Imagine my surprise when he said, "Then I want to play soccer."
Especially since soccer is the ONE sport neither Adam or I wanted our kids to play. But I believe in letting the kids choose what makes them happy, so I thought, Let's do it.
Last night, sitting on the sidelines, thankful to be out of the writing cave and loving what had to be a record-breaking beautiful day...I found myself actually enjoying soccer. Even the lady parked next to the goal doing underwear-showing floor exercises provided entertainment.
And then I realized something. As the boys got in to their clumps, kicking at that ball, striving to get it in the goal, Ethan regularly ran along the perimeter of the action, waving a hand as if to ask permission to get in the game.
He'd run alongside his teammates, hand in the air, as if to say "is it okay if I kick the ball too?"
Ethan is such a kind-hearted kid, so it didn't really surprise me that he didn't want to take away anyone else's chance at a kick or two. I've seen him do this before, running up to the ball, realizing someone else was running to, then stepping out of the way as if to say "Oh, you go ahead and take a turn."
That's not to say he's not playing hard and doing a great job. In one game, he head-butted (is that the term?) the ball to a teammate who then kicked a goal. Awesome!
But some of the very same qualities I admire in my son are the ones that could potentially hinder him in this sport. What a delicate balance.
More than anything, Ethan needs to feel like he's a part of this team. That he's allowed to get in there and go for it, to take the ball away from the other team, to take a shot at a goal, to risk being a star...
It's like so many of us, isn't it?
Waiting on the sideline for someone to pass us the ball instead of getting in there and going for it? Hand in the air, we ask for permission to do the thing our heart is begging to do...If someone would just give us a chance, we could be great.
If only someone--anyone--would toss a glance in our direction and tell us it's okay to go for it.
But sometimes I think we don't get the chance because we don't take it. In all our politeness, we fail to realize that we're here for a reason. We're here shine and when we allow our fears to darken our light, when we give in to the voices that tell us we're not good enough or worthy enough or we have no right to want what we want...
Everything inside us that makes us unique and special starts to wither and die.
Don't we have a duty to get in the game? To realize that we are entitled to a spot on the team?
Today, make up your mind to stop running around the perimeter of your dreams. Tell yourself it's okay to go for it. Figure out what's stopping you and shove it to the back of your mind.
You only get one chance to live this life. Live it out loud.