Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

“Is this painful for you?” my husband whispers to me from the sidelines of our home soccer field.

“So painful,” I sigh, shifting in my bag chair and trying to appear engaged during our son’s third losing game of the season.

Did I say third losing game? I meant third losing season. In our past three years of soccer, we have had one victory.


Every spring when soccer registration comes around, we find ourselves saying things like, “Do you want to try a different sport this summer, bud?” Or, “Are you sure you’re going to want to come in from the lake to sweat on a hot soccer field?” 

His answer is always the same, “I don’t want to play a different sport—I love soccer!”

When he was younger, my husband and I hypothesized it wasn’t soccer he loved, it was the Doritos, Powerade, and ice cream sandwiches passed out after the game. Treats are what the boy loved. We joked that we could buy BOXES of ice cream sandwiches and PALLETS of Powerade to have on hand through the summer if it meant we didn’t have to drag our bag chairs from field to field throughout July.

But year after year, as our son matures beyond Dorito delirium, he keeps coming back to play soccer.

He never practices at home, despite the soccer net we placed in the side yard and my husband’s suggestions they kick the ball around together after dinner. He is not a skilled player. He’s a strong boy, so he’s had some great kicks over the years when the ball just happened to end up at his feet, but he does not play like he’s in hot pursuit of the ball, or a goal, or a victory. He plays with contentment, or maybe complacency, like he’s just glad to be out there. Just glad to be part of a team.

“I love soccer, Mom. I hope we win a game this year.”

The parents and grandparents on the sidelines begin to cheer, and I snap back to the action of the game. Goal for the good guys? 

No such luck. 

I side glance at my husband from behind my sunglasses and wonder what he’s thinking.

He was a great young athlete—one of those people who succeeds at most anything he tries. He played college baseball and still drives a golf ball like a boss. He can hold his own on the racquetball court and takes great pride in being the last one with a rubber ball in his hands during a dodge-ball throwdown.

I’ve never been as athletically inclined as he is, but I cracked a baseball over the outfield fence more than once and pulled down lots of rebounds on the basketball court. I threw the discus far enough to matter and bench pressed more pounds than a lot of girls I knew. 

We both stood out in our various athletic areas, had our moments of glory and plenty of “Ws” over the years.

But our son—he has never scored a goal. He has rarely had a win. His moments of glory have consisted of a handful of kicks in the right direction. And yet he returns.

He returns to the field summer after summer, game after game, because he wants to play. He likes the kids. He likes his coaches. He wants to be part of something. 

He has shown my husband and me he’s not just there for the snacks—he’s there for the team. 

He doesn’t have to be the star.

He doesn’t need a winning record. 

He just wants to pull up his shin guards, wear his jersey, and cheer for the good plays. 

And at the end of the night, even if he never touched the ball during the game, even if he sat the bench more than anyone else, even if his team got completely whooped, he’s there in my backseat saying, “That was a pretty good game! Maybe we’ll win the next one.”

“Maybe, bud. Maybe.” I watch him in my rearview mirror. He pops a Dorito in his mouth, crumbs dropping to his jersey. He smiles and waves orange-tipped fingers at his coaches as we drive away.

You may also like: 

Dear Youth Sports Parents: The Only Words Your Child Needs to Hear From You Are, “I Love Watching You Play”

Not Every Day is a Home Run Day

To the Parent Yelling in the Stands

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Stacy Harrison

Stacy Harrison lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with her husband, three sons and a Goldendoodle who wasn’t supposed to shed. When she’s isn’t moonlighting as a wrestling referee (Living Room Floor Federation), Stacy enjoys writing non-fiction, primarily to-do lists and grocery lists. Visit Stacy’s blog,

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

Go Easy On the Parents Who Refuse to Skip Naps

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two little boys and their sister walking down a gravel road, color photo

Greetings from a mom who is done with napping children. It’s great to have the flexibility during the day for longer activities, meeting friends for playdates, or day trips to faraway places. It’s a new life . . . the life without naps. The freedom to make plans and keep them. But not that long ago, I was something very different than the flexible, plan-keeping, up-for-it woman I am today. I used to be the mom who refused to skip my child’s nap. Yep, that one. Here’s the thing, for a lot of parents, It’s so much more than just a...

Keep Reading

My Heart Isn’t Ready for You to Stop Believing in Santa

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing in front of lit christmas tree

“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine. Immediately, my heart sank.  This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.  I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is a Million Little Letting Gos and Fresh Hellos

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with child on her lap by the setting sun and water

I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season. I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, This Is My Wish for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugs three kids

To my kids, The world you’re stepping into is unlike anything I experienced at your age. It’s fast-paced, interconnected, and sometimes overwhelming. But within this chaos lie countless opportunities for growth and joy. My wish for you is that you find the perfect balance between embracing the modern world and staying true to yourselves. Change is one thing you can always count on. Embrace it because it’s often the motivation for growth. Embracing change doesn’t mean letting go of who you are; rather, it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself. Remember, you don’t need to have all the...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Stay Wild

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach, color photo

I can’t really put my finger on it. Or manage to find all the words. But there’s just something about that girl. Maybe it’s the way her hair sits tangled. Curled up at the end. The way she moves. Dances. As if everyone was watching. Or no one at all. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine It could be the way she smiles. With her heart. The way only she can. The way she cares, loves. For everyone. For herself. You see, she is beautiful in the way only wild things are. The way they...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading