It’s more than just football

On Saturday 21 Nov, the Supergirls were named the champions of the under eight Subang Jaya Community Sports Club tournament. It was a beautiful comeback after their defeat just a week ago.

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They were the only girls team in this all boys league but it did not intimidate them. They were prepared to kick ass or get their ass kicked but victory was theirs. They won because of their football skills as they were up against some really seasoned players. Players that had been playing since they were little boys at their neighbourhood park where girls aren’t welcomed.

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The deciding moment. A penalty shoot out.

Winning a tournament makes every effort and time spent worthwhile. The euphoria experienced in those few moments can last for a couple of days. It is relived when pictures that captured this victory comes over your social media feed. That’s the beauty of a group based sports because the joy is shared by all.

Being a soccer mom or dad is tiring. It involves dedication, time and a lot of driving; for football practice and games. Some have been doing it for over a decade.

I met a soccer dad who has been with SJCSC for 15 years. His soccer dad duties started when his son was only a preschooler and his son is now 18. This dad is still passionate about the club and football, and will continue with his soccer dad duties for his daughter who has joined Supergirls.

“It’s not just a football club, there is more to it”, he said, and this is the reason why he does not mind sticking around for another decade. A lot is gained from team based clubs. Unlike individual sports, when you’re part of a group sport you are exposed to many elements, both the parents and the child.

These kids and the parents are exposed to many challenges. Challenges that are bound to emerge as they progress in life.

This week was a little tricky as only one of my tween was selected to play. Sibling rivalry is natural and expected because these two sisters are only 17 months apart in age. Naturally, the child not selected was disappointed and felt a twinge of self doubt but luckily she has been selected for next week’s tournament. So that was her light at the end of this self doubt tunnel.

Even if you are selected for a game, it does not necessarily mean you would be playing. You could be benched throughout the tournament but how you deal with that is a learning process.

These are just some example of how playing in a team sports is more than meets the eye. It provides an opportunity for children to learn about teamwork, disappointment, sharing victory and loss and supporting one another, on field and off field. It builds their character. They may not see eye to eye but they learn to put aside their differences when they are on the pitch and play like a team.

That is more valuable than the medal they took home on Saturday. They don’t see the lessons they learned today but it is slowly preparing them to face the challenges in the future.

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