Over the years I have had many job titles both in my professional career and in my volunteer life. I’ve been an “account manager”, “analytical chemist”, “industrial hygienist”, “event planner”, “Bible school teacher”, and a wife and mother to name a few. Within that wife and mom category come the following job descriptions, all of which I am so thankful for since no job title has ever fulfilled me more than the roll I play now: doctor, nurse, chef, counsellor, house manager, bookkeeper, teacher, etc, etc, etc.
But one of the domestic jobs I love best is that of the “soccer mom.” I’m not into coaching my kid from the sideline, but I am all for cheering at the top of my lungs when my son makes a goal. For that matter, I’m all about cheering obnoxiously for anyone on my son’s team who simply makes a good play. These boys are six and can use all the encouragement they can get. I’ll even applaud our opponents if it’s an exceptional play or if our team is significantly ahead and they are struggling. Keep in mind my son is only six so we encourage hard work, sportsmanship and having fun at this age. (And no, I don’t think everyone should get a medal/trophy. I think only the winner should, so don’t worry, I’m teaching my son about winning, too. We don’t believe in that namby-pamby, everyone-gets-a-trophy socialism bit around this house.)
With that said, we were playing a game a couple of weeks ago at our local soccer club; and it was a particularly close game. One of the players on our opponent’s team started to get rough with all our boys and at one point got visibly angry and purposefully knocked one of our players to the ground with enough force to hurt him. I thought the parents on our side of the field might jump this kid, but to the credit of my son’s soccer coach (along with the boy’s father) he rushed to the injured player’s aid and then calmly discussed the issue with the referee so that the game could continue without incident.
After the game both teams did the usual high five pass across the field, and with a great amount of sportsmanship our side of the field (the parents that is) also jumped in and cheered for and high-fived not only our own kids but also the opponents. You should have seen those players’ faces light up. They were on top of the world despite the fact that it was a tie game. What could have been a nightly news story about soccer parents gone mad turned into a great example of what good sportsmanship is.
And why did this happen? Because Coach Cook is a fabulous example to our boys week in and week out, and we parents decided we better do the same. Coach Cook never yells at his players like I’ve seen some of the other coaches do as they frantically run up and down the field correcting every tiny mistake (6 year olds, remember). He always encourages them to work harder. He always challenges them to do their best and finds ways to draw out the best in our boys. He’s the kind of coach that isn’t afraid to correct our boys, but he never humiliates them or criticizes them. His ability to focus on the positive is causing our boys to grow both in skill and in character. My son is learning a few lessons that every parent wants their children to learn – lessons of honor, integrity, hard work, good sportsmanship and the like.
A friend of mine posted the following on Facebook today, “You might not make a ‘major’ contribution to the world, but you can make a major contribution to someone.” (Eric Reeder) Simply put, that is what Coach Cook is doing, and as for me, I hope he’ll continue to coach my son’s team for years to come because this ordinary dad is making a life-long impression on my son and the world could use a few more Coach Cooks.