Sports: It's all about having fun


After years of second-guessing some of sports' greatest minds from the comforts of my favorite armchair, I finally got my first chance to guide a talented group of young athletes to greatness last week.

No, I wasn't hired as a new assistant for the Denver Broncos or as an adviser for the University of Colorado's Golden Buffaloes. I couldn't even serve as a water boy for Arapahoe Warriors cheerleading team where I went to high school.


Let the record show that my first opportunity to mold young athletes came as an on-field coach (that's different than a head coach) for the Discovery Learning Center Firefighters -- my 5-year-old son's youth soccer team.

The only requirement for getting this job was showing up a few minutes before the game. I wasn't even excited when they asked me to take the job.

For those of you who have never been to a 5-year-old's soccer game, let me explain.

The on-field coaches' main responsibility is to tell the three kids who are on the field where to stand and which way to kick the ball. It's not as easy as it sounds.

In my coaching debut, the firefighters scored a few goals and gave up several, but to my players' credit, we only put the ball in the back of our own goal once.

Telling you exactly how many times the firefighters scored or how many goals they gave up would be against the rules.

At this age, the teams don't keep score, they never announce who won or lost and the main goal of the entire game is just to have fun.

The truth is that no one really cares.

When a team kicks the ball into the net, the fans from both teams cheer and the players on both teams celebrate.

These are rare occurrences in today's competitive-minded sports world.

The really happy thing about this age group is that when the game comes to an end, no one has a clue which team won. In fact, the only important thing about the game is what's in the cooler and Tupperware container for snacks at halftime.

I will always remember my first experience as a coach, although it lasted only 40 minutes, as a rewarding one. After spending the better part of my adult life watching, following and writing about sports, I learned a valuable lesson from a group of pint-size soccer players last Thursday night in the middle of a soccer field.

They taught me that it really doesn't matter who won the game, who scored the first goal, or who scored the most goals.

It doesn't even matter which goal you kick the ball into during a game, as long as everyone cheers.

Any smart kid will tell you the most important things are hanging out with friends, getting something good for a snack at halftime and making sure that you are always having fun.


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