WHEN THE HEART SAYS NO: Super Soccer was super

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Last weekend I went to Super Soccer and on Sunday I watched the AA final for the U19 boys with my younger son, Cody. It was a bit weird, as I used to go watch Cody play and he is now an adult watching students play the sport that he loves so much. Of course, we commented on plays and players. And it’s always easier to play the game when you’re sitting in the stands. People next to us probably heard, “Nice shot.” “See how he did that?” “He should have passed to that open player!” “How could he miss that shot so badly?” “I could have made that shot!” Eschia!

I used to love watching Cody play and never missed a game, especially when I was the manager for his high-performance team. We saw other parents, many of whom one or both of us knew and we also saw people like us who didn’t have kids playing, but who love the sport or are older players.

People kept asking me “do you have someone playing” and I kept saying “no, I just want to watch soccer.” I had also gone to the Fieldhouse on Saturday and while I watched soccer, I also watched the kids. It was awesome to see so many kids from all over the North, many playing in a soccer dome for the first time. Very cool.

I loved watching their enthusiasm and listening to the ooh’s and aah’s of parents, siblings and fellow students. It was fun to listen to the parents, who often knew the names of all the players on the teams. It reminded me of when I knew the names of Cody and Roy Jr’s teammates in their various sports.

What made me realize I had missed too many Super Soccer tournaments was that I didn’t recognize the referees, at least not for the older kids’ games. I did see two guys who had always refereed before, but I didn’t have a chance to ask them if they were still working the games or were now super fans at Super Soccer … like me.

The thing about soccer is parents don’t have to buy a lot of expensive equipment, like for hockey. Yay. It can also be played year-round in school: outdoors in the summer and in the gym in the winter. And you don’t have to learn how to skate, swim, or hit something; you just have to run. Whew.

Benefits of sports

Of course, there are many benefits to kids playing sports. Physical activity is the most obvious benefit, as kids often spend too much time watching television or playing video games. They also learn to interact with other kids and with coaches and sports officials. Additionally, they learn leadership, team-building and communication skills that will help them through their entire lives.

Participating in sports usually improves a child’s self-esteem and confidence, as their parents and coaches praise and encourage them. They also learn to trust their abilities, to push themselves and to accept constructive criticism. Of course, the child gets more out of it if his parents are actively involved in his sports. So, sign up to help, parents.

Not surprisingly, athletes often excel in academics by applying to their school work the principles of dedication and hard work they learned in sports. And, studies show that people who play on high school sports teams are more likely to graduate from college than people who don’t participate. Woohoo.

Participating in sports also promotes a child’s health and wellness, which can benefit them throughout their lifetime, if they continue to play sports as an adult. They are also often more aware of healthy food choices, especially if parents and coaches encourage healthy living and are good role models.

And finally, if your kids play soccer, they might come to Yellowknife for Super Soccer. And I might see them getting a medal here next year. Yay!