The soccer game final score was a solid and satisfying 4 – 0 in “our team’s” favor. Shots on goal, probably 12 – 3.
A few of our team’s forwards have the knack. They see the field, move to open turf, and touch balls past defenders legs and keepers’ hands into goal. Others, try as they might, don’t and cannot.
And SO many close opportunities. Balls played forward or crossed in well; forwards at net with open shooting angles, unable to one-touch balls, instead taking steps or dribbles, then shooting into defenders’ feet, knees, or hips. Aach! Differences of inches and quarter-seconds in traffic under pressure, missing, so close, too slow, striking too hard, too soft, too late, growling in frustration. It could have been 20 – 3 in shots, who knows the final score.
Some of the differences are physical – reaction times, spatial anticipation, muscle mass, speed, strength, height, mental quickness. Some bodies and minds are better for this game than others. Much difference, however, lies in repetitions – players’ abilities to watch better players over periods of years, learn, and adapt – a feint here, a tweak there – and practice, hours of repetitions and more repetitions – with pressure, without pressure, alone, in small sided games, in full sided games, and more hours after that, learning to see openings, anticipate angles, and develop touch to take advantage.
And they know the differences. Losing a close-scored but lopsided tournament final to their faster, stronger, defter-footed arch rivals last week, and returning the favor to an undermanned, scrappy but lesser gifted cross-town rival in this week’s season ending game. They know the differences.
The seniors graduate in a few weeks. The rising underclassmen and incoming freshmen have four summer months before them to set their priorities, dedicate their time, work with a ball, develop their vision and touch…. or not. It’s a choice, one day at a time, to rise to the next level or not.
We, sales warriors all, have the same choices. Role plays, anyone?
Note: For those who have followed my son’s scholastic soccer career through these columns for the last few to more than a dozen years, this was his final game. With delight, I watched as he scored one of the team’s goals today and hit the post on another and applauded, with his smiling team mates, as he left the field with a few minutes remaining, co-captain of the victorious side. The game today finishes a career that included a national championship and two Massachusetts high school state tournament championships and generated many wonderful stories to share. Thank you, readers, for your interest in him, thank you for your comments through the years. I’m very, very proud to be his dad. Be well, all.
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