A Lesson in Ignoring Red Flags

For my son’s soccer season this spring, I volunteered– or, to be frank, my arm was voluntarily twisted– to coach the team. I enjoy watching soccer every so often. I respect and admire the difficulty and the beauty of the game. I even have a favorite team to watch, going on 20 years. However, I also have:
  1. Little knowledge of the nuances of the game
  2. No particular skill in playing soccer
  3. A lack of knowledge on how to train to be a good soccer player, and
  4. Minimal proficiency in keeping 15 nine- and ten-year-olds focused for more than 3.8 seconds
Four red flags– if not more– blowing in the wind, warning me not to do it. Before I decided to back out of coaching the team, however, I first talked to my son and asked him if he wanted me to coach the team or not. He’s a straight shooter (no pun intended), and I thought it only fair to give him the option to ask me not to coach, so as not to embarrass or annoy him or distract him from growing as a player. I wouldn’t be offended if he didn’t want me to do it. Instead, he said yes, I should coach. At that moment, I promptly tossed the proverbial red flags in the metaphorical trash can and got to work as coach. Why? Well, here are the realizations that I had… My son is nine years old. How much longer will I have the chance to spend time with him before he doesn’t want to be seen within a few feet of me while out in public? How much longer will I get the chance to do something with him one-on-one before I simply can’t keep up with his energy? How many times will he and his peers look up to me for guidance and maybe (just maybe) learn something? The upshot: Sometimes it’s best to ignore the red flags, and, instead, let the wind take you to new and unexpected places.


Photo taken in Cancun, Mexico circa 2016

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