Blogpost, SoccerLifeBalance

Soccer Karma

IMG_3939Our beliefs tend to color or almost define our worlds.  The thoughts that we hold most dear are the filters through which we cyphon our experiences and produce meaning.  Recognizing this would make one think that people would be deliberate in the creation of their beliefs.  Unfortunately this is rarely true.  People’s beliefs are often a mismatch of heritage and circumstances.  This haphazard approach is bound to lead to disaster more often than not.  I’m not here to offer a complete belief system but rather one small sample: Soccer Karma!

I’m a huge believer in soccer karma.  It is a term that I may have coined (or stolen, not sure!).  The concept is simple.  On the soccer field, if you give a good ball, you’re going to get a good ball.  Meaning that if you give a quality pass to a teammate, they’re going to give you a quality one back.  This is, of course, not completely accurate.  It’s completely possible that you give a good ball and get a crap one back!  This is true.  However the belief matters more than the reality.  If I believe that my intent is going to have positive returns, I’m more likely to put effort in that direction.  That effort will eventually influence those around me, especially if we all believe the same thing.  This belief acts a ratchet that brings positive returns.

For years now, I’ve been professing the positives of this belief system.  While I know that it has paid dividends for my players and teams on the field, my hope has always been that the metaphors of our sport are not lost on those who play it.  The moment that we step off of the field, we are being released out into a larger venue with bigger stakes and uncertain scoring.  Regardless of that, the belief system can be applied with equal effectiveness.  If enough of us believe in it, then we truly can make life “a beautiful game”.

The next pass is yours to make!



Dad’s Maxim

Long before Maxim was a magazine with pictures of beautiful women and articles for young men, it was a statement of general truth or rule of conduct.  My dad had a maxim and I don’t believe that I am exaggerating when I say that in my life I’ve heard it thousands of times.  While I’ve only said it hundreds of times, I’ve applied it regularly enough that I know its truth.  “Be nice to people, it doesn’t cost you anything but it can get you everything.”

This statement has been a major ingredient in many of the decisions that I’ve made throughout my life.  Although we live in a world where it is widely believed that “nice guys finish last”, I’ve never regretted my decision to follow this ideal.  The only issue that I have with the statement is that some people tend to focus too heavily on the last part.

The key to the world is give and take: exchange.  We live in a world that is based on currencies and they are exchanged regularly.  Some currencies are physical, like money or products.  Some currencies are emotional like love and respect.  Since most of our thoughts on exchange revolve around purchases, we want instantaneous results when we give out a currency.  This is a system that we understand in the physical world.  The problem is that in many of the invisible currencies, exchanges are not direct.  So people, who were not raised by my father, may read this statement expecting that their niceness will be rewarded soon after it is given.

The thing that I learned by seeing the application and not just listening to the words was that you need to be willing to give with no thought to receiving.  I would almost cut off the last part of the saying but no one does anything without a reason.  My belief in the eventual payoff or karma of my present actions is a necessity.  Although I never know how or when I’ll see my generosity repaid, my experience tells me that it will be paid back in greater quantities than I gave.