He wanted to sign up for adult league soccer. And he wanted us to do it together, as a married couple.
For him, it would be a great chance to develop his soccer skills, since he hadn’t played since high school.
For me, it would be a great chance to look like an idiot on the soccer field. I might be the least athletic person on the planet. I remember picking dandelions on the soccer field when I was 4. Now that I was in my 20s, I really just wanted to spend my Saturdays reading Jane Austen or doing the crossword puzzle in the newspaper.
And he wanted to play soccer.
See, I have this unwritten rule. If I’m not going to be good at it, I don’t want to waste my time on it.
So going back to school to earn a master’s degree was an easy choice for me because I’m bookish. Learning to make homemade bread or salsa was also a no-brainer because I enjoy cooking. But soccer? Just the thought was completely absurd, and I told my husband no several times on the issue.
…It would provide exercise for us.
…It would be great bonding time as a couple. I was a new teacher. I spent all my free time grading papers or writing papers of my own in grad school. Most of our free time as a couple was spent helping out in youth group. We needed something fun to do together.
…And it would be a neat way to meet people outside of our church, people who maybe made different choices and had different views on issues. My husband convinced me to look at it this way, and eventually, I gave in.
Though I still left practice wanting to quit so. many. times.
Remember talking about pride yesterday, and how that’s part of the root of perfectionism? I think that’s a huge factor in my unwritten rule of not trying something if I can’t be good at it. But it’s so healthy to humble ourselves enough to try new challenges.
And you know what? It really was great for our marriage. I had to practice keeping my mouth shut long enough to listen to my husband as he explained offsides and other weird rules. Between he and Kelly, our team’s coach, I ended up learning some basic skills too.
We did build some great relationships with folks outside of our church. We had several barbecues on our back deck with people that we really didn’t have much in common with, but boy did we have a great time. I love the friendships we made with our soccer friends.
I’d love to tell you that I became a super star soccer player, but in truth, I probably embarrassed my teammates. A lot. Or at least I felt like I did. But they were fabulous. They rallied around the newbies and if we got really ahead in a game, they would make it their primary objective to help us score our first goal. I ended up scoring many goals and we played several seasons together. I also got to cheer for my husband as he made a diving header to score a goal. That’s a really good thing, for those of you who aren’t soccer fans.
And I became comfortable with looking like an idiot on the soccer field. Because it’s all about fun, not being a super star at everything we do.
If you have an unwritten rule like mine, I hope you ditch it. Fast. If we don’t try new things, we just don’t grow as people. We miss out on opportunities to learn and minister to others. It’s a great way to stay in the same place spiritually, and who wants that? Let’s grow.
What’s something new that you’re going to try? Do you have a similar policy about making yourself look foolish?