Old Soccer Guy’s U18 Girls had a tough ‘end of the road’ coming so close to the State Cup final four. But harder still was the realization that it was ‘over’. The girls, many who had played together for years, were aging out of youth club soccer, facing graduation and college next year. As someone who always manages to screw up his ‘end of season party’ speeches, I enjoyed reading how OSG summed up the ‘end of the road’:
All week I thought long and hard, trying to come up with some deep philosophical wisdom to relay to them. At first I thought they would expect me to give them some meaningful speech to help ease the pain. But then I had a revelation. To them, I wasn’t a philosopher. I was the guy who inspired them by making them laugh, the guy who cares about them as people, and the guy who always found something slightly off the wall to say that grabbed their attention and made them think.
So I told them that I was heart-broken when we lost and the tears were devastating to me. But, I said with a sudden burst of energy and enthusiasm, “I have a quote for you. It’s from Dr. Seuss (no lie, look it up). The quote is …
“Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”
Awesome!! The emphasized part is spot on. I’ve found myself over the years asking my players a lot more questions than giving them answers. I want them to think.
As a coach who is just beginning a journey with a U11 competitive soccer team, I sometimes wonder how long the team will stick together, and if it does for a few years, how hard it’ll be when the ride comes to an end. I can only hope I’m as insightful when the time comes to say something they’ll remember.