It doesn’t matter who wins or loses, it’s how you play the game.

It doesn't matter who wins or loses, it's how you play the game.

My daughter had her first soccer game yesterday. She’s the one in the middle, in the really long orange jersey (her team is The Fire) and really high soccer socks. And that’s probably my shadow down there in the lower right hand corner, memorializing the moment. I don’t have any pictures of her with the ball, because whenever she had it I was clapping my hands and yelling “GO! GO! GO!”

It’s been a long time since I watched a game with kids this young (Josie is seven). Most of the kids are new to the sport, so the game was a stripped down, simple version. They played on a half field with small goals (you can see one off to the left there). There were four kids on the field per team, no goalies, and the coaches were the refs.

It was wonderful.

At one point both Josie and a girl from the other time went for the ball and collided. Josie came down hard, and there was a collective gasp from the parents. Both of the girls came off the field crying. I checked Josie out and made sure she wasn’t seriously hurt, then held her for a while as she cried, first saying that it hurt SO BAD (Josie can be very dramatic. Wonder where she gets that from…) then saying she was embarrassed. After a little bit her coach came over to make sure she was okay, and to ask her if she wanted to play. She was a little reluctant until he said “We need you!” Then she got up, he gave her an enthusiastic high ten, and she was back in the game.

I don’t remember the score, and neither does Josie. I know the other team got more goals. It didn’t matter. There were no winners or losers, just a bunch of kids running around and having fun, with their parents cheering them on from the sidelines. Josie fell down, and she got back up and kept playing, which is her own victory. We left the field with Josie singing at the top of her lungs.

“So light ’em up up up
Light ’em up up up
Light ’em up up up
I’M ON FIRE!”

Yes she is.

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