My six year old recently joined a soccer league. There weren’t any soccer leagues when I was a kid; soccer wasn’t the up and coming sport in North America then that it is today. In my youth it was baseball, hockey or bowling, perhaps this was a fortunate circumstance taking into account my experiences with the local baseball clubs but more on that later.

    Having fun while learning soccer skills seemed to be the credo of my daughters coach Ron. On numerous times between words of encouragement I overheard Ron exclaim
“ You’re here to have fun and learn about soccer, don’t worry about the score.” The child would sometimes look puzzled, but never discouraged. I was ecstatic to observe, it became more and more evident that

sportsmanship was a paramount issue in this organization. Imagine a world where having fun was more important than competition, learning new skills would become a pleasure not a pressure!

Later I walked up to Ron and thanked him for being such a fabulous mentor to these children. My own experiences with baseball had been a far cry from this. If you weren’t a budding Mickey Mantle you didn’t play, and often were made to feel stupid and clumsy, in retrospect the only thing that was stupid and clumsy was the methodology of the so called coach.

I tried to attend as many of my daughter’s games as possible and thoroughly enjoyed watching the children having so much fun. Skye my daughter really loved playing with the

other kids not only did she make friends she also sharpened her social skills. Genuine interest was shown by the parents of the young players, in most cases encouraging their children and others to play in a sportsmanlike manner. There was one instance however that stands out in my mind that again brought back memories of my days with organized sports. One of the fathers of a participating child began yelling at his son to hit the opposing player, this was met with a terse reprimand from Ron reminding the parent that this was a non contact sport, again kudos to Ron and the Toronto Storm Soccer Club.

   Parents often forget that it’s just a game not a life and death struggle or the beginnings of your child’s life long endeavor.