When you play soccer for fun, the aim is not about scoring the most number of goals, but about practicing your craziest and wildest moves (if you’re just that good) or helping others practice their crazy and wildest moves (as far as they are able to). There is an unspoken rule that the game is meant to be fun for everyone.
When you’re playing soccer for points, suddenly a different mentality settles in. For the competitive, “win at all cost”. And so it is then that as a ref, I get to see that “fog of competition”. Coaches see only the other team’s faults or yell at their own players, players push other players without apology and lose their temper, and the ref charged with failing to ref.
And that’s just for the minor leagues.
But every once in awhile, I see the coach that encourages his players and players that respect their opponents even as the score remains close. These are people of character, that give me hope for people’s ability to see the fun and seriousness together.
We must remind ourselves over and over again that even as we compete, we are collaborating. Let’s keep our exploitive and prejudicial tendencies to a minimum shall we?