Our 6-year-old joined his first soccer team this year. After several years of watching our teenaged son play competitive soccer, it was a shock to our systems to start back at the beginning with the little one. This is different. Hilariously different.
And so, today I offer you my list of 20 Things that 6-year-olds Do When Playing Soccer.
- They get the ref to retie their cleats.
- They spin in circles until they fall down.
- They pick their nose.
- They forget that speed might be helpful when chasing the ball and they skip instead of run.
- Or they trot like show ponies.
- Or waddle like penguins.
- They randomly lie down on the field.
- They wave to their moms.
- While waving to their moms, they get hit in the back of the head with the ball.
- When kicking the ball in from the sidelines (I guess they don’t throw it in at this age???), they kick it straight across the field and out of bounds again.
- Merciful heavens, sometimes they even take their sideline kick and the ball goes straight out of bounds again on the same side of the field!
- They crash into the other players. On their own team. When they’re nowhere near the ball.
- They pull their jersey up over their face.
- They lean against the goal posts.
- They get a startling number of goals (perhaps because the keeper has his jersey over his head while he’s leaning against the goal post and waving to his mom). From the score alone, one might guess that they were playing football instead of futbol.
- They trip and fall. A lot. Over their own feet. Over the feet of other players. Over the ball. Over the players that are napping on the field. Over the lines painted on the turf.
- Sometimes they are not even moving when they fall. They are just standing there and then they fall down.
- They squat down and pull their jersey over their knees. And try to run. And fall.
- They have to pee.
- They have fun regardless of the final score.
Now imagine with me for a moment if professional athletes played this way. Can you picture Cristiano Ronaldo standing around on the field picking his nose? What if Wayne Rooney spun in circles until he crashed into another player and they both fell in a daze to the ground? Perhaps Lionel Messi should take up skipping and penguin waddling. And how silly would David Beckham look if he tried to make a living by pulling his jersey up over his face? (Nevermind. Bad example.)
When six-year-olds act like six-year-olds, it’s funny. It’s cute. It’s the joy of having (or being) a six-year-old. And it’s expected that they’ll grow out of it.
It’s disturbing if they don’t grow out of it.
So it is with people who have been following Jesus for a long time. It is disturbing when they don’t grow up in their faith. They should know where to find things in the Bible. They should have some level of control over their tongue. They should find joy in serving others. They should be heartbroken over poverty and slavery and injustice.
Otherwise they’re like Andres Iniesta doing the pee-dance four minutes into the game. Just sayin’.