We’re heading to southern California next weekend to so that Bill can play in a soccer tournament as a guest player on another team. Our current team is not attending, so we accepted the invitation. Incidentally, we lost rather badly to this team during the semi-finals of another tournament in May (although we had beaten them in a final last November), so there’s a healthy rivalry between both teams.

As we plan our trip, I can’t help from wonder how far this is from the way I was brought up.

I saw a meme on Facebook a few months ago that described the typical careers for African families as:

  1. Doctor,
  2. Lawyer,
  3. Engineer, and
  4. Disgrace to the family!

Many of us recognize the expectations of our African families to follow a particular (professional) direction. Yet here we are, carting the whole family to San Diego so that my son can participate in a tournament that’s not even his home team! It creates some dissonance in us, because it is different from the way we were brought up, but we believe he has been given a unique gift from God, and so we must encourage and support him to go as far as he can go, all the way to a professional soccer player, if that is God’s plan for his life.

This tournament is one of the biggest in youth soccer. It’s at least definitely the biggest we’ve participated in. There are 32 teams in his age group competing in 2 different levels, so makes for a fun time.

Thinking ahead to next weekend now, and watching the tournament countdown on Facebook, I’m filled with all sorts of tingles! The energy of a soccer tournament is like no other. Preparing for the tournament, making sure you’re on time to each game, figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent, heart pounding as you cheer your child’s team from the sidelines, complaining about bad sportsmanship, making snarky comments about the refereeing hopefully out of earshot, figuring out what you’ll eat that day, and re-playing the day’s matches are experiences that we wouldn’t trade for the world.

In the triumphs and the defeats, there are always lessons to be learned, new bonds to be formed, and memories that will last a lifetime. Let’s go!

What gives you the tournament tingles? Share below!