I coach youth soccer. 11 and 12 year old girls. This is a tough time in young ladies lives. They have all these pressures us boys don’t understand. But I understand my role. This is our local rec. league, not travel or premier soccer. My job as coach is to get the girls exercising, teach them teamwork, start developing the leaders, and most importantly make them feel appreciated and important.
I take this role very seriously. We are all very busy people. At the beginning of the season, I told the parents that I communicate through e-mail. Of course this is old school and people want txt messages or voice mails – which I don’t do a lot of either for time reasons.
A couple of weeks ago, we had a lot of rain and games were rescheduled twice during the week. It was frustrating and confusing for everyone involved. I sent e-mails and did the best I could to keep everyone updated. That’s when it happened. During the make-up game I received a call and ignored it – my priority was not taking phone calls. When I listened to the message afterward it was a Flaming Dart from one of my parents. Their daughter missed the game because they didn’t see the e-mail in time and she was crying and upset that she missed the game…you get the point.
My initial reaction was to respond in kind, but I didn’t. I paused. After thinking about it, I decided I would just wait before I responded. The reason: the young lady that missed the game is extremely shy. Soccer for her has become something much more than playing defense and doing her best. She’s finding herself through the hard work and dedication. Her skills have improved, she gives high-fives without hesitation, she smiles, laughs, and talks with the other girls. She’s the reason I’m there. If I responded to her mother with a Flaming Dart (because I was right), what would that do to help the daughter? Instead I apologized to her mother and will from now on always call her when there’s a change. It’s one phone call, but it makes all the difference in the world to that one girl.
I decided to catch the flaming dart instead of throwing one back. I didn’t always do this, but I’m glad I did this time. It’s the little battles and choices we make that impact our effectiveness that becomes our legacy.
Will be a Flaming Dart Thrower or Catcher?