(RE-Post) 2 Reasons Why I Coach Girls Soccer

10690232_10201883751214356_5274849699803254674_nNote: This post first appeared on November 11, 2013. I’m re-posting today, for two reasons. One, I am continuing to spend my writing time working on my DMiss project, due December 12th. And, two, because I want to commemorate a truly great soccer game yesterday. Though our girls lost in sudden death penalties in yesterday’s tournament final, this is one seriously proud coach!

When I started, it was mostly about need.

As in, my daughters’ team of under 8 girls needed a coach, and I needed some venue to express my love of all things soccer. Somewhere along the way, need morphed into, well, a calling of sorts. Like, I feel called to coach soccer. Even more to the point…

I feel called to coach girls soccer.

There are more than this, but here are two key reasons why:

First, I see coaching these girls as a way to make a tiny dent in the largely anti-female culture of American (and global) sports. I’ve blogged about sports culture before (herehere and here), but in case you need a reminder, we live in a world where boneheaded talk radio jocks say things like this:

“I enjoy many of the women’s contributions to sports — well that’s a lie. I can’t even pretend that’s true. There are very few — a small handful — of women who are any good at this at all. That’s the truth. The amount of women talking in sports to the amount of women who have something to say is one of the most disproportionate ratios I’ve ever seen in my freakin’ life. But here’s a message for all of them … All of this, all of this world of sports, especially the sport of football, has a setting. It’s set to men… It’s a man’s world.” 

I wish this sentiment was an aberration, but I’m afraid it’s not. And while we rarely experience sports as this overtly and verbally sexist, Tertullian is still there, lurking in the shadows. Recently I read this article, about a group of elite women cyclists and their supporters, who are seeking to create a Tour de France for women. The litany of legal, financial and attitudinal barriers they are facing is staggering and depressing.

So, by choosing to coach girls, perhaps I can punch a small hole in a long-established male-favored sports culture.

Second, coaching the girls gives me an opportunity to try to be a healthy male role model. To be sure, I don’t know the full stories of each of the girls on my team, but I know enough to know that some of them could use a positive and encouraging male role model in their lives. And, sure, I’m only with them 3 hours a week, but I am acutely aware that I when I am, I have an opportunity to bless and encourage them, in a way that they might not get consistently at home.

That’s right, what I’m saying is that soccer coaching can be ministry.

Both of these reasons–culture shaping and role modeling–are ways that I’m trying to leverage my male privilege to bless others. In the overall scheme of things, there are small, almost token acts.

And yet, at the end of the day, I don’t live in the overall scheme.

I live in my neighborhood, with these girls and their families, coaching and playing soccer.

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