Sunday, October 4, 2009
Team Sport, Team Spirit, Team Player
October 4, 2009, Special Olympics Fall Soccer Assessment
I look at that photo and I see a very small team.
Emily's soccer team has morphed.
For the last few years there have been fifteen to sixteen players on her team and with the leaving of her 'old' coach and the entrance of her new coach and some changes in the number of players allowed to attend the games ... New Coach found himself in a bit of a dilemma.
Allow only twelve players to attend the games? Split the thirteen into two teams so all can attend?
He split the teams. The 'Tigers' are seven strong, the 'Wildcats' are six strong, but with any luck they'll be seven come the fall soccer finals.
In the meanwhile, New Coach has taken this motley crew of would be soccer stars and in three practises turned them into teams with spirit, heart, work ethic and had taught each of them how to be team players.
Amazing. I have watched Emily herself morph from the young woman who wants to play soccer, but not mess her hair, her nails or her clothing, up, at all, into a young woman who is beginning to understand what she is watching and is able to be where she needs to be on the field.
Today, I saw the girl who ducks when a ball heads her way, morph into the charge right at it player ... who was able to get her feet on the ball and do some dribbling!
With five on the field and only one sub available the team rotated through in four to five minute intervals with rest periods being roughly two to three minutes. Then it was back in to spell another player. They were all red-faced, sweaty, tired and hungry after just two games, but their spirit never lagged. The lost the first, won the second and thoroughly enjoyed their day.
As did I.
Thank you New Coach. I had no idea this young woman could find her playing skills. With positive feedback and some help from you, she and her teammates excelled today in ways the spectators hadn't seen before.