If you give a girl a soccer ball, she will want some cleats to go with it.
You'll buy her the most adorable pair of little cleats, and then she will probably want some socks and shinguards too.
The more soccer toys she collects, the more room it will take up. So you'll have to get her a soccer bag - with her favorite number on it of course.
She will probably spend hours tugging at your arm, begging you to go out in the yard and play soccer with her, even though you may want to finally sit down and relax after the hectic day at work you've had. But of course, you can't say no.
You will patiently teach her how to dribble and pass and shoot, as you see her face light up with every new thing she learns. She will not want to go back in the house for dinner, no matter how much the light is fading and she can barely see.
Eventually, the little toy soccer net you've been shooting on will get too small and she will want to see how hard she can shoot a ball into a real-sized net with her new cleats and ball, and she will ask you to drive her to the soccer field at your high school.
Bring on the grass stains and dirt and scrapes and bruises. It will be impossible to miss how happy she is on this new territory. She will probably smile, and laugh and run around to the point of complete exhaustion and not let you leave.
As she gets better at dribbling and shooting and passing, she will want friends to play this new favorite game with. Then you will get this girl a jersey. And when a girl gets a jersey, she will want a TEAM...
And then life as you know it will change...
There will be no more lazy weekends watching ESPN or taking trips to the beach. Every minute of your time will be spent hauling soccer balls and cones and orange slices and coolers and stinky cleats and cars filled with little giggling girls all over the place to play soccer.
Your car will be transformed from a neatly kept, freshly washed car to a mud-stained, grass-clippings-filled vehicle. And your house may be a mess. And the laundry will be never end. And your shoe basket may pile up to the ceiling. And it's all because you gave a girl a soccer ball.
Your weekends will be spent in the blazing hot sun or the frozen tundra on a fold up chair. And her weekends will be spent gaining confidence, learning new skills and making new friends.
Her smile will grow bigger and bigger. And each year she plays with that soccer ball, she will get better and better. Her love for the game and her inner strength will grow right along with her jersey size.
And you will be there the day she scores her first goal or makes her first big save. And she will make you proud. So proud that you will get her and her teammates ice cream and tell all your co-workers all about it.
And right before your eyes, that little girl will be transformed into a soccer playing animal, who ignored a Barbie Doll a long time ago, simply because you handed her that soccer ball once upon a time.
When you give a girl a soccer ball, you give her so much more than just a ball. You give her a dream and a place to learn about life. A field that teaches her she can be anything she wants to be. That she can push her limits and have the confidence to face anything life throws at her. And she will be the luckiest girl with all of these things, simply because you gave a girl a soccer ball.
Then one day, many years from today, she will come home to visit you and find that old soccer ball in the corner and her framed jersey under some boxes. And she will pick it up and realize instantly that when you gave that girl a soccer ball, you also gave her a childhood that she would never forget. She will hug you, and in that moment you will realize that everything you gave up along the way, was worth it.
All because you gave a girl a soccer ball...
Inspired by: http://softballisforgirls.com/2016/04/12/if-you-give-a-girl-a-jersey/
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Hi Alana. I just read this blog through a link from a twitter post. So on target! It’s exactly how it unfolded, My best to you all for another successful year. Keep up the great work and maybe i’lll see you around the island. Happy New Year. Anna DeCesare
I know that I am way late commenting on this; but, I think that this is very touching. Not only for the life of a child, but what it says to a parent about the passing of time. I think that this essay ought to be required reading for any FATHER who is looking into the eyes of his baby daughter and wondering if he’s up to the job. Very nice message, Alanna.
love this!! My daughter read this and started crying, we were both crying! its such a true sentiment. Beautiful story!
We gave our daughter a soccer ball, but at age 8 we gave her a swim suit and goggles. She has not looked back and only forward…2020 Toykyo. Give a girl a ball, a pool, a pair of running shoes, a paint brush, tap shoe…….let her find her passion and become an amazing woman.
This is very touching and very true!! My daughter has grown soo much playing soccer. Her skills on the field are crazy good but the dedication continues to her school work, other sports like ballet and softball and the amazing support group of fellow soccer players and friends!
We started our daughter with a pink shirt, sneakers, and braided hair for her first soccer practice some twenty years ago. She moved pretty quickly from a pick-up team, to house league, to travel, to select travel playing with seniors in high school as a freshman. She became Capt of her high school team and Capt of a high level travel team that played all over the country achieving a Top Ten ranking nationally at the U-18 level. A soccer scholarship followed to a D1 team, where she was a Co-Captain as a senior. She is now an Asst Coach at a D1 college in NC. I say all this to reinforce that she is “living her dream” through the great game of soccer. Along the way she has had a number of wonderful coaches, a plethora of terrific, supportive teammates, some difficult moments, some memorable, inspiring moments, but above all else she is an accomplished, well balanced, happy young lady. Soccer and all the accompanying trials and inspiring moments and people along the journey are the reason…not her parents. It’s not us, never has been. It’s the game and all the support of others on the journey…and there’s more to come, much more. Standby!!
Dad and Mom
Not for nothing, but this all applies to boys who play soccer, too.