Soccer Dad

“Soccer Dad,” Friend, Oct. 2005, 47

Soccer Dad

(Based on an experience from the author’s family)

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power (2 Tim. 1:7).

“Hi, Tommy,” Mom said as Tommy walked in the door and dropped his backpack on the floor.

“Hi, Mom. Guess what?” Tommy opened his backpack and took out a piece of paper. “Soccer sign-ups are this week!” Excitedly, he handed Mom the paper and watched as she read it.

“It says the city leagues are forming, and any interested boys should meet at the park this Saturday.” Mom looked up at Tommy. “What do you think? Do you want to play soccer this season?”

“I really want to,” Tommy said, “but my other friends have been playing for a couple of years, and I might not be a very good player. What if I make a mistake and our team loses a game?”

“Winning isn’t everything,” Mom said. “Having the courage to try, even if you’re scared, is more important. I think you should try.”

Later that evening as the family was sitting around the dinner table, Tommy told Dad about the soccer sign-ups.

“Are you going to play this year?” Dad asked.

“Mom says I should have the courage to try,” Tommy said.

“That’s right!” Dad said. “Having courage is more important than winning. Remember in family home evening when we talked about Nephi building a boat? He had the courage to try something new. Without Nephi’s courage, his family would never have made it to the promised land.”

Tommy sat silently for a few moments. “Dad, will you go with me on Saturday to the soccer meeting?”

“Sure.” Dad smiled. “I’ll give you an extra boost of courage.”

The rest of the week went by quickly, and soon it was Saturday morning. Tommy and his dad sat on the bleachers at the park with the rest of the boys who wanted to play soccer. Some of them had brought their parents along too.

After dividing everyone into teams according to where they lived, the man in charge spoke to each group and asked them to choose a coach. Tommy and his dad looked around at the other parents in their group. They were all shaking their heads.

“I’m too busy,” one dad said.

“I work on the weekends,” said another parent.

Soon the man in charge stood in front of Tommy’s group.

“We still need a coach here,” he said. He waited a moment, but nobody raised a hand. “Without a coach, you can’t form a team,” the man repeated. Everyone was silent.

Tommy pulled on his dad’s sleeve. “You could coach our team!” he whispered.

“No, not me,” Dad said. “I’ve never played soccer. I don’t know anything about the game.”

“But without a coach, we can’t play!” Tommy insisted. “C’mon, Dad, you’d do a great job.”

“I don’t know,” Dad said. “I can barely even recognize a soccer ball!” They sat in silence a few more moments. Still, no one offered to coach the team.

Tommy leaned over to whisper to his dad again. “Remember, having courage is more important than winning.”

His dad’s brow furrowed as he thought for a moment. Then he slowly raised his hand. “I’ll coach the team,” he said quietly.

“Hooray!” The other boys cheered as they jumped up. “We can play soccer!”

Tommy grabbed his dad’s hand. “I’ll be with you at every practice and every game, Dad,” he said. “And I’ll give you an extra boost of courage!”

Even though the team had a great time that season, they never won a game—and only scored one goal. The details of their soccer games are now forgotten, but the lesson Tommy and his dad learned about having the courage to try will last a lifetime.

  • Nettie Hunsaker Francis is a member of the Las Vegas Third Ward, Las Vegas Nevada Stake.

Illustrated by Bryan Beach