For those of you who have checked out the Goalie Love section of my site know that I have always been a goalie. I haven’t always been the best goalie. Not like Hope Solo shown below. (To make this clear I wasn’t good enough to make my high school team let alone the Olympics) But goalie was my passion none the less.
There has always been one person who has been my coach whether officially or not. That person still to this day is my dad. During middle school when he was coaching my soccer team it was one of the few seasons he had another goalie besides me on the team. I think at the time he was trying to show me how much I needed to improve if I wanted to make the high school team since I wasn’t even the best in Rec League. However that is a lesson I missed at the time.
This was one of the few games I out played my counterpart in, but the game came down to a shoot out. When a shoot out happens you have to use the players that are on the field. I was between the posts and he had been playing defense at the end of the game.
Therefore my dad could pick either of us to be goalie.
Just to make this clear before I continue, my dad understood how little my age group soccer actually meant in real life. He never took it more seriously than a good way for me to stay active and make friends. I don’t want to give the impression he was a Nazi trying to groom me for the Olympics.
Back to the point. Either of us could be used for the shoot out.
I was smaller. Slower. Weaker. He was better. But I was my dad’s son. That had to count for something.
It counted for sitting on the bench watching my team go through the shootout without me.
We won. My counterpart blocked better than 50% of the shots. It was a hell of a performance.
I wasn’t the most pleased thirteen-year-old on the ride home. But my dad, as he has always been decent about explained his decision. (He wasn’t one for sugar coating)
He told me I hadn’t been training like I used to and he had 15 sons that also wanted to win the game. If I wanted that role going forward I would have to work for it, because it would be a lot easier for him if his heart and head could align on the decision.
I understand the game itself had no bearing on my existence, but the lesson I learned that day has stuck with me since. When you have to make a decision that will impact other people you have to lead with your brain over your heart. What is best for you, isn’t always what is best for everyone. And sometimes you have to endure a choice you don’t want to make so others can prevail.