Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real.

It’s been one of those years; the kind where things happen so fast, you’re left walking around in circles trying to catch up. This last year’s left me scratching my head in confusion but also in astonishment. It’s been a year and, well more like two years now since we put the kids into soccer. It seemed like a fun thing to do after seeing a picture of Adiah’s best friend playing on facebook.

We put the kids in a church league for two seasons and we had great fun. Adiah’s team had great coaching which we appreciated because she was new to the sport. She was taught the basics of soccer but more importantly, she was with her best friend. The first season flew by and as the kids grew they started showing a skill set for the game.

Adiah got put into goalie where she shocked everyone with her awareness and natural physicality. I think Gabe fell into the same role (goalie) simply because it was something his sister did. After their first season ended I wanted more for them. Not because I thought the church was lacking but because I wanted to see what a couple more days a week would do for their development.

After some insistence from dad, I put them into academy soccer where they were now practicing two days a week and playing every weekend. They quickly adapted and started to thrive in the new environment; super fun to watch. We now have two goalies in the family and are spending quite a bit of time driving them around from field to field.

Like I mentioned before it’s been crazy; watching our two little babies start a new sport to watch them now thriving and excelling is more than we could’ve hoped for.

A changing environment

Who said playing academy ball was going to be easy? With two days per week out on the field, we’ve upped the ante to three days per week and will soon go into 4 soon. The competition is stiff and we’re seeing kids that are really talented.

Don’t get me wrong, our kids are getting there and now that they know we’re able to hang it’s time to excel at their craft. Yes, I’m calling it a craft, a learned skill that’s teaching them how to work together with others and play as a united front. The life lessons soccer’s offering my kids are endless which brings me to the point of this article; fear!

I’ve painted a pretty inspiring picture of the kids which is true but their growth hasn’t come without its fair share of grief. Getting thrown into a league with more players means they’ve met players that can flat out BALL! In fact, when Adiah tried out for the team she’s on now they put her up against the premier players to see what she could do. She got rocked but after mid-season, she got invited to join a premier summer league “Super Y” which is an invite-only summer league for girls with college potential. She did the best she could do but couldn’t get the courage to defend her post against some of the other players.

Getting over her fears!

Adiah was pretty crushed about not making the black (premier) team and has since played a little timid. We’ve told her how proud we are of her for coming so far in such a short time but I think we are going to have some conversations around the topic. Here are some tips we’re going to go over with “DiFace” (Adiah) in hopes of getting her back into a rhythm to build back her confidence.

How we’re conquering fear:

1. Consider the source

In Adiah’s case, the source of her fear was her coach’s inability to communicate and the fact that she wasn’t asked to join the black team. Because Adiah looked up to this coach the results were more devastating. It wasn’t her fault no one communicated the fact that she didn’t, not make the team but more so was invited to play for both white AND black but couldn’t.

Often times our fear comes from unreliable sources or people who are misinformed. “Well, so and so said they need someone with a masters degree to fill the receptionist’s position so I’m not even going to apply” sound familiar?  Hindsight is 20/20 and if I were thinking more clearly about how this was going to stunt Adiah’s growth I would have asked more questions and fought to find answers.

Because the coach messed up and didn’t follow up with Adiah she was left filling inadequate and a failure which carried over to her next season.

2. Write down your accomplishments

A good exercise I have Adiah and Gabriel doing now is journaling (you can find Adiah’s website here) daily. In this fast-paced world, it’s very easy to forget your starting point. We sometimes forget the trials we’ve gone through and the accomplishments we’ve made to get us where we are today. My wife Sarah has gotten so many awards from the companies she’s worked at that I’ve encouraged her to hang them up with pride.

I don’t think it’s boastful to remind yourself of the great work you’ve done and to remind others as well. The fear we sometimes get of being inadequate or not good enough comes from forgetting the road we’ve traveled. If your company or team gives you an award, hang it up, put it on a shelf where people can see. Remind yourself that you’ve done great things and are worthy of the road ahead.

3. Remember your skills

This goes hand in hand with remembering your accomplishments. You’re able to accomplish something because of your skills & ability. I’m constantly having to remind my kids of how many goals they saved during a game. It takes skill to jump in front of a small moving target full speed.

Communicating with your team of oncoming danger takes skills and knowledge of the game. Distributing the ball downfield to start a run takes skill and technique! If you want to truly kill fear, then hone your skills every day to get stronger and faster. Practice creates confidence and confidence kills fear!

LUCK = Opportunity + Preparation

4. Find the right support

The best asset you have in your life is the people you surround yourself with.

Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.

Learn this age-long quote and apply it to your life. Write it down, get it tattooed on your arm, memorize it until you can say it backward and forwards! The people who you surround yourself with can either bring you life or bring death to you!

I think one of the reasons Adiah was so heartbroken about not being involved with her black (Premier) team was that fact that there were girls who encouraged her and taught her new skills. They loved the game so much they carried her although side. She was part of a team,  the bigger picture.

Her team now …

“consider the source” It’s always the people who can’t cut it or aren’t skilled that bring you down, make you feel horrible and don’t encourage you. Our new fight is to get her back on black and get the party started!

In the end, we have to understand and accept that fear is a natural feeling, an instinctual trait to keep us alive and well. We must remember to never succumb to it out of ignorance or stupidity. Wielding fear can aid you, make you stronger and sharpen your reflexes but it can also kill.

So as this new season unfolds we’ll continue to encourage our littles to give it their all. I’m sure I’ll have to read this again to myself very soon.

Remember this acronym:

F= False
E= Evidence