I am loving all the soccer magic happening all around. It takes me back to my school days, playing as part of the girls’ soccer team. My mother wasn’t thrilled about headers, but she never missed any of my games. My parents were, and still are my greatest cheerleaders. They were always present and always cheering me on, even at home, when self-doubt creeps in and I feel less brave.

I’ve also been a school soccer coach and I see all the loving parents right there for their children. I see how proud they are, how present they are for their little ones who are essentially growing in front of their eyes. I see the worried look on their faces whenever their child falls down and witness the joy, relief, and pride in their eyes when they see their child get back up again.

For us, their children, it really matters to have those we love and respect visible in the sidelines as we navigate our lives. Most of the time, we need to focus on what’s in front of us and how we get to score a goal. We need to trust our team, learn to make choices all on our own based on what skills we were taught, drills we’ve practiced, and so on.

During certain key moments though such as when we score, or when we’re afraid we’ll miss the critical penalty kick, or when we’re injured, we look to the sidelines. Our eyes look for those people, those key people who matter. And when we see them, and they see us – what a game-changer. Boom!

Tagged in What messes with your head, Student life, international student