Purple Piranhas

Marla - Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: children, sports
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I believe in the valuable lessons youth sports teach young children. Growing up playing soccer for my small hometown was a strong passion of mine. I loved coming home from important games when we were victorious because all the dedicated fans would let my teammates and I know how well we did. We were home town heroes. Young soccer players looked up to both the boys and girls varsity soccer teams and inspired to be like them.

I was five years old when I first decided to play soccer. I was always a girly girl growing up but I still loved playing sports. I went to my first Saturday morning soccer session and fell in love. Every second of the day I wanted to play. When Saturday came around I wasn’t interested in cartoons. I wanted to lace up my cleats, if only I knew how, and kick around my size 3, pink, soccer ball.

Saturday morning soccer taught the players how to be competitive. Competition is a natural occurrence in life yet sometimes young kids need a nudge in the right direction. Teaching the kids that loosing wasn’t the end of the world was as much a lesson for them as it was for me. My kids learned that knowing the score wasn’t the point of the game. The point was learning how fun soccer is. I taught them competition leads to self improvement and if they work really hard they will be able to do whatever they want to.

As their soccer coach I had a huge job to accomplish. I had to help influence the lives of these kids. It was my job to teach them that the real winners are the kids who have the most fun. I noticed the kids were the most excited when they scored a goal or made a nice pass. Seeing this I decided to reward the players that enjoyed the game the most. The distraction of a prize allowed for the kids to forget the score and enjoy the game. They now have satisfaction in their accomplishments and have no reason to pay attention to the score.

Being a young child yields many challenges but, these challenges lead to important lessons. I learned just as much from these young soccer players as they learned from me. When you learn something from an inspirational person in your life you carry it with you for a long time. My kids learned how to compete, play hard and react to all negative and positive aspects of the game because of my coaching. They will take these lessons with them all the way to high school. Hopefully the next generation of Cape Elizabeth athletes will do just as well in high school as I did. This is why I believe in the valuable lessons youth sports teach young children.