The Biggest Wins Have Nothing to Do With the Scoreboard
We came across the following LinkedIn post, written by parent coach Jeremy Truelove in Wellington, Florida. With his permission, we’re publishing the post here. We hope you enjoy the message as much as we do.
This girl made me cry today.
Today, I returned to coaching soccer for the first time since taking a hiatus at the beginning of COVID. Outside of being a dad, coaching brings me the greatest joy in my life. And I’d missed it terribly.
While many coaches enter each season hoping their roster includes a ringer or two that will bring their team victories and goals, I hope for (and behind the scenes, ASK for) a team of nobodies.
Why? For me, it’s not the thrill of the competition, but the joy of the journey.
Of watching a child transform from a scared and hesitant shadow of a person to a confident and valued member of a team. Of witnessing outmatched individuals like the 15-seed Saint Peter’s University Peacocks learn to compete with teams with better rosters by coming together as a team to equal much more than the sum of its parts.
i9 Sports caters to the needs of families with kids that may not be fits for the ultra-serious travel leagues, with seasons consisting only of 7 weeks of a weekly 45 minute practice followed by a 45 minute game.
With a demographic of less serious and sometimes completely inexperienced players and only 45 minutes separating the moment I meet my players and the start of the first game, the 1st day always brings chaos at i9.
Today was no exception, as I noticed one of my players didn’t return from visiting his parents to get some water at the end of the 1st quarter.
Though he had reported having playing experience during the initial team huddle, his parents disclosed quietly that he’d actually never played and he felt lost and discouraged and wanted to quit.
So as my amazing assistant coach (and bride) stayed with him and his parents to encourage him to stick with it and that newbies were my favorite, I sprinted over to my lead defender.
I told her I was going to move him into her favorite position and move her to sweeper where she was to back him up and show him how to play with her confidence and love of the game.
“This girl” took that task to heart – the same heart that has had a hole in it since birth and the reason her parents have held her out of sports for the last 2 years.
She ran to him and told him she’d show him what to do. After two quick semi-impactful plays and shouts of joy from his grateful parents on the sideline, he’s hooked – a critical member of our team.
And look at the smile on her face – bigger than after scoring any goal or beating any opponent. She knew she impacted a life today.
Though it’s the conversion and expansion of aligner manufacturing giants that have been paying my bills, it’s the opportunity to coach the little startups and underdog labs that brings me to the computer with excitement each morning.
I’m so proud of “this girl” (my eldest daughter Aurora), and I hope she carries with her for life not just the joy of this day, but her father’s simultaneous love for her and the lost sheep.