I love watching Ava play soccer, the girls don’t play for money or acclaim
To them it’s not a matter of life or death, to them, it’s just a game.
They’re so young they don’t play with a goalie and they don’t even keep score
They have a chalk-lined field but, basically, the girls just run around outdoors.
The two teams line up to begin the game like two opposing walls.
When the whistles blown, as if drawn my a magnet, they converge upon the ball.
Their coaches yell instructions hoping what they learned in practice will be applied.
While the parents scream their own directions from the field’s other side.
The girls all smile, oh they seem to listen, their hair bouncing as they run,
But they care less about game strategy and more about having fun.
“Here it comes, kick the ball, Kicki it! ” the coaches and parents cry
But a girl has stopped to pick a flower as the ball goes rolling by.
“Run to the ball! Kick it! Go get it now! ” They yell, “Don’t wait.”
But a girl has turned and is waving hello to a relative who came late.
As I stand as an observer watching the children’s joy and parent’s strife
I’m glad for soccer as the girls are learning some lessons they’ll apply in life.
They are learning a little bit about themselves, if they make a mistake they know it’s not a crime
They keep smiling and hope they’ll do better when they get the ball next time.
When two opposing players bump and fall, there’s no major anger blowup
They brush themselves off, smile, then help each other up.
When the game is over, it’s over, there’s no repercussions, no anticlimax
The kids all run through the family bridge and race to get their snacks.
It seems to me the lesson they’re learning is not about winning or losing or fame
No, they’re learning how to have some fun and most importantly...it’s just a game.
As for the score, grandparents keep it differently, you see Ava will always be our hero
Which is why as we walked away from the game it was Ava 2 and the other team zero.
Jim Yerman's Other Poems
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