Just a little note from the heart.
Today is always a tough day for our country. September 11, 2001, was a day that changed America in so many ways. As someone whose step-dad was a fireman for over 20 years, I am always moved at the heroic sacrifices of so many on so many levels and was always drawn to miraculous stories of sacrifice, herculean heroism from police, fireman, first responders, and average men and women who just went to work that fateful day, not knowing what would transpire a few hours into a gorgeous sunny day in New York City.
As I sat today in my quiet time of daily reflections I cannot offer enough prayers, thoughts, well wishes that bring the lives back of so many who perished that day almost 20 years ago. It burns to the core of my soul with vivid passion still to this day. Each year the tributes are moving and stir raw emotions in my flesh as I yearn to want to help those affected by this life-changing tragedy that unfolded across America that fateful morning.
I remember vividly where I was, what I was wearing, watching it unfold on one of the only tv sets at the school I was teaching during my off period. How in the world am I going to be able to verbalize what is going on to a group of 7th graders who will be in my midst in 30 minutes? The words came and went and I am sure did not do enough justice to what had happened as we did not know how this would change our country and the world on so many layers and levels.
As I sit today and read stories I am always drawn to the story about the “man in the red bandana!” If you have not read his account, you should, but in short, he was a former athlete, working a desk job in the upper towers who helped lead countless people to safety sometimes carrying people down 70 plus flights of stairs. After leading them to safety he was not satisfied and went to get more people and more people, as, after the events, countless people remember the red bandana, a total stranger helping person after person be able to get to safety. A few weeks after the collapse of the towers, they found his body, close to the exit on the bottom floor lobby, mere feet from safety, but he chose to help others and paid the ultimate sacrifice. He is a hero and I believe there is a lot to learn as it relates to soccer, youth development and maybe even more importantly how we treat each other.
As you remember after the events of 9/11, unfolded there was a united front against terrorism. People locked arm in arm regardless of gender, race, political affiliation, and united against a common cause but importantly united for a COMMON CAUSE to LOVE PEOPLE. What has happened the past 4-5 years is a complete trillion steps backward in terms of getting away from this united front our country stood firm on, to serve one another, love another and make sure something like this does not occur on our soil ever again.
You may say why is a soccer director speaking on this subject because I powerfully believe it resonates to everything we do and we serve each other with regard to youth sports. soccer specifically and more importantly how we grow generational leaders for the future. Here are four small outtakes:
1. Take time to get to know people, really listen to them, hear their heart and story. You may not agree with their opinions but respect their journey
Soccer Take– That ref you are yelling at because he is tired, this is 6th game on a 99-degree day, well his wife has cancer and he is trying to pay his daughter’s college tuition. What if that were your dad working to provide and he was tired and made mistakes would you yell at him because you feel entitled to have the best ref for your child? Take time to respect everyone, each person comes from a history that defines them, it can be from a good place or just the opposite. Nobody has to agree with everything, but they should learn and be taught to respect people from all walks of life in all situations, by hearing someone’s journey it may change the view from the chair in which you sit.
2. Take a breathe and enjoy the moment!
Soccer Take- Things did not go your child’s way in the game today and you are mad at the coach for not playing them more. Most kids are using sports as a vehicle for growth, teachable moments and most love the journey of friends, competing, trips with the team, so before piping off that e-mail at 1:24 A.M on a Sunday take a break and smell the roses. Your kid will not be playing soccer their whole life and will be graduating before you know it and you will miss seeing them play. Time flies and as I watch this group of 02’s graduate this fall, I remember them when they were 7-8, the age of my son now, and time has flown by, take a break, step back and enjoy the kids and THEIR SOCCER EXPERIENCE!
3. Give Back to Others, especially people you do not know and especially when nobody is watching.
Soccer Take- =What is the legacy you leave when you hang up the boots as a player, coach or parent? We need to encourage our youth players to make sure they leave a positive footprint from the game so that they can pass it onto others for future generations of success. Encourage your child and you to find your joint passions and serve them, as you never know when the tables might be flipped and you need to be served. We love BUSA Serves Day as this is one day where we can make an impact on others, but in reality, this needs to be a daily service to someone you know. It might be as simple as picking up the phone versus texting and checking on someone. Take time and give back!
4. Have Fun!
Soccer Take- 9/11 taught me life is short and you never know when your number is up. Make each game, each practice, each day fun. Nothing has to be easy, but people should enjoy playing something, as the word, play sits right in the middle of the word playing. We are all guilty of being too fierce (I am suspect #1) but we all must take a step back and recognize one game does not determine our happiness or place in the world, and if it does we are going to be sad a lot of the time. Soccer is a great game but a terrible God.
In closing, I just wanted to speak some from the heart, and thanks for listening if you read this cover to cover. As a BUSA Coach, BUSA Player and BUSA Parent I trust and hope we always remember the sacrifices of those who passed away on 9/11/2001. I hope that the BUSA Family always does more, gives more, loves more, thinks more as that will continue to make BUSA the best place to play soccer in Alabama for generations to come and allow us to mold and impact young leaders for the future.
All the best