God's Overflow
"For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks" – Luke 6:45

“Soccer Saves” – Part III – “Practice” Pt 1

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If you haven’t read the introduction and first two parts to this series, click on the following links:

As my first day of the soccer bible study continued on, so did the realization that my skills were nowhere near the level of the other members. They were doing tricks that I could only dream of doing! My passes were sloppy, and theirs seem to hit the mark every time. I’d take a shot, but it’d be completely off from where I aimed! They’d take a shot, and it was ridiculously accurate.

Four more guys arrived, and the leaders decided that it was time to play a game. GREAT! I was already very tired, still trying to catch my breath, and now I was going to have to play a game?! Well, I guess I should have known this moment would come quickly… after all, it WAS the point of the get together.

We played a game of four vs. three on a small field. We did not use actual goals, but we did set up backpacks to emulate goal posts. The rule was that the ball needed to be on the ground as it went between the backpacks in order to be considered a goal. YEAH RIGHT. I had enough problems controlling the ball at my FEET let alone trying to aim between two goal posts/backpacks that were about four or five feet apart while keeping the ball on the ground.
I already counted myself as defeated. Before we even kicked off, I had already told myself that I was going to be run off the field. There was absolutely no way I was going to be able to keep up with these guys. I had already told myself ( and in essence, decided) that there was nothing I was going to be able to do in defending the on-coming players.

We started the scrimmage, and right off the bat, EVERY player on that field was quicker than I was. Not only were they all better than me, but since I had never played with these guys before, I wasn’t sure where on the field I needed to be. I was on defense, and we were the team with four players. Do I just stay in the backfield and defend? Do I sit in the midfield waiting for a pass when they’re pressing toward the goal? Should I push forward while the other defender was watching the backfield?

The ball was passed back to me, and I saw an extremely wide open lane from my foot to the goal. I decided, “I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m just going to take a shot and hope it goes in.” The crazy part was that NO ONE ELSE saw the open lane. I tapped the ball, and as it was on its way to the goal (accurately), someone on the defense saw that the ball was about to go in. He tipped it away, and the ball went wide of the goal. I heard a couple of guys comment about how great of a shot it was. Wow… these guys are incredible players, and they’re complimenting me! That gave me a little bit of confidence.

As the game wore on, I realized that I was better than I thought. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was still nowhere near these guys, but I was actually able to keep up with them. Even as I was dead tired, I still gave it every last bit of energy. I was sliding all over the field trying to block shots, kicking the ball away from the offensemen as he attacked my goal, and even making some decent passes while I was on offense. What it came down to is that I needed to play with these guys for a bit so I could see their tendencies, and I had to go after them. I just needed to practice with them to get better.

Are you still intimidated by other people’s knowledge and levels of faith after the “betterment” article? After you’ve surrounded yourself with people who are better than you are in the aspects of your life where you are weak, it’s now time to practice. Just as I was in a situation surrounded by people who were better than me, all I needed to do was practice with them to make an attempt to get better.

How exactly does one “practice” the aspects of our life that are weak? Check back tomorrow for section II of the writing.

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