Fabey Dental April 2019

The Lessons You Learn on the Soccer Field Will Stay With You Long After the Final Whistle

April 2019

When you live in the Northeast, the emotion most often associated with the arrival of spring is relief. That’s especially true this year, because the winter was nothing short of brutal. I’m sure I don’t have to encourage you to go out, play in the grass, enjoy a cocktail on the patio, or engage in your favorite outdoor activity this spring. The spring endeavor I’m most excited for is a chance to get back on the soccer field — or “the pitch,” to those in the know — and begin coaching spring practice for the Freedom High School girls’ soccer team. I’ve been coaching for years, and it’s become one of the most important pursuits in my life. I didn’t set out for that to be the case; it just sort of happened naturally. My career as a soccer player was decidedly unremarkable. Like many youngsters of my generation, youth soccer was one of my first athletic endeavors. In those days, though, soccer was not the respected sport it is today. It was “foreign,” “wimpy,” and “kid’s stuff” compared to all-American alternatives like football and baseball. I don’t know if it was external pressure or simply a development of other pursuits that led me away from the game, but I did lose my zeal to play at some point. Despite never achieving glory during my playing days, I always kept an appreciation for the game. When my daughters were growing up and getting into soccer, I was always eager to volunteer to coach them. As they progressed to the ranks of high school, I joined them. I put as much effort into attending coaching camps and improving my tactical knowledge as they did in honing their first touch and free kick skills. Even after they graduated, I knew I’d remain the coach of the Patriots.

girls on my squad will have the opportunity to pursue higher education opportunities thanks to their soccer skills, and some have the potential to go even further. But more importantly, every single person who goes through the program has a chance to learn valuable life lessons that will resonate no matter what shape their futures take. Sports teach us perseverance, camaraderie, that life won’t always go our way, and so much more. Coaching is also a learning experience for me. I’ve learned skills as a leader that have translated to the practice, and I’ve been inspired by the resolve and determination of my players. In soccer, as in life, there is always room for improvement. Even Lionel Messi, who can do things with a soccer ball that truly boggle the mind, continues to press forward in pursuit of new heights. As a Barcelona fan, I’m hoping that relentless drive for mastery will result in another Champions League crown. It’s been amazing to witness the growth of soccer in this country. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be spoilt for choice when it comes to watching European soccer on a Saturday morning. However, what’s more important than the reputation or popularity of any particular sport is that we continue to instill values in our young people through athletics. That’s certainly a big part of what keeps me on the sidelines year after year — well, that and being hopelessly obsessed with the sport.

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Over time, I’ve realized that there is a side to coaching that has nothing to do with soccer. Sure, a few of the

1 Published by The Newsletter Pro | www.TheNewsletterPro.com -Dr. Mark Fabey

www.fabeydentalstudios.com

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