Friday, 1 August 2014


I wrote a while back about rep sports, about getting in deep with one thing, about devoting time and money to something.  As I mulled it all over, I came to the conclusion that I wasn't adverse to helping a real talent along, it's just that I had never come into personal contact with that much talent in one area.  Growing up I always succeeded in what I tried my hand at, but I was never the very best in that field.  Jack of all trades, Master of none.  I might have even been a big fish in a small pond, but I was not gifted with a prodigy-like talent that would have made me a big fish in a big pond.  But my personality type is fine with that.  I like doing well at what I try, but I don't feel a hunger to pursue it with such devotion.

It seems, though, that I might be edging on something here with Colin.  He has just finished a week long soccer camp run by a British soccer club.  I chatted casually at the end of practice today, to get a feel for what they thought.  Each coach described his natural ability as "unreal."  He scored off the charts in every single area.  And this is the first training he's ever had.  He played at recess with his friends at school this past year, and this summer has been playing in a very casual league (ie: his parent coach has no real soccer experience to assist in any training.)

I was able to catch a glimpse of it on Wednesday night.  Camera in hand, I was running between three fields, trying to take photos of all three boys playing on separate fields.  As I crouched on the sidelines of Colin's game, I saw him make intuitive decisions about when to dribble and when to pass.  I saw that for him, the game was more important than the glory.  I saw 110% of his passion and effort poured into every second he was on the field.

Then, I saw him battle for the ball at mid-field.  The next thing I knew, he broke free and was heading toward where I sat by the opposing team's net.  15 feet down he came across a defence man and his feet seemed to dance with the ball.  He tapped the ball at a backward angle, stopped it blind, moved it deftly around the players and continued on.  He barrelled down the field in complete control of the ball, and at the next block he brought the ball to a dead stop and reversed directions from left to right in the blink of an eye.  The next blockage he tapped the ball right through an invisible clear pathway between the tangle of legs.  Another quick deke or two and he was at the net.  He glanced up, gauged the goalie's movement and kicked the ball in the other direction.  It sailed clear into the net.

It took my breath away.  I know a parent is always first to laud their own child's accomplishments.  How natural it is to beam with pride at any accomplishment - whether physical, intellectual, spiritual, of character, or any other.  But for me this was different.  It was a moment to recognize what others have been telling me and I have been so reluctant to hear: he's good.  He's really good.

My heart pumps at finding something my son both loves and excels at.  When you can pinpoint that in a child, you can help them focus through the turmoil years of youth.  Sometimes so much is going on in your body and mind and heart that your head can get lost in it all.  Having something to throw yourself into can be therapeutic.  I had music growing up.  I can recall the hours I spent at the piano, picking up the guitar, the clarinet.  Even now when my head swirls I have turned to the flute, the violin, and back to my old favourites also.  Music has given me passion, focus, discipline, release, and love.  It's wonderful to see the same thing in Colin.

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