Yesterday, my son participated in the 4th Futbol Funatics’ Belo SunExpert Summer Soccer Cup in Cuenca Field, Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City. This was his first time to join a football tournament, and in the days before, he was getting very nervous. He had started learning football only three and a half months ago, and he joined Futbol Funatics for the very first time just last April for their summer soccer camp.
Several times, he said that maybe he shouldn’t go to the tournament anymore. He was very worried that he wouldn’t do well, that the pressure from the other teams or from his own teammates might be too much, that his team would lose. He was comparing his football skills as a complete beginner to his basketball skills as a player who has been training for more than two years. He was thinking about the many Coach E basketball tournaments he had joined, and of the times his basketball team had won as champion or 1st runner up. He believed in himself in basketball, but doubted himself in football. And he was so afraid to fail, so afraid to disappoint and be disappointed. He was already thinking of quitting football.
I reminded him of the first time he joined a basketball tournament, and how he also wasn’t sure of himself and of how things would turn out. I reminded him that, unlike in basketball where he has had a fair amount of training and experience, in football he is only starting to learn and he should give himself a break.
I asked him to try to simply enjoy playing the game, to enjoy the experience of his first football tournament. He replied, “Mom, maybe I should stop being negative and start thinking positive.” Yes!
So we did go to yesterday’s tournament. His team played four 15-minute games during the elimination round. In every game, he played defender for about five to seven minutes. His team made it to the finals, and won the gold!
After the tournament, he told me, “Mom, I’m a bit surprised that we won the championship. But I’m happy. And now I think I want to continue football.” And I saw the dark cloud of doubt slowly disappear, and the bright spark of positive thinking shine again.