Participation. . .
I just finished writing a college-talk on the subject. (Hopefully – some profs will pay me to give it, so I can tackle a bit of ‘on-the-road overhead’ here.)
Participation is a choice. As we grow older – we create dialogues which prevent us from doing things. We sometimes choose not to do anything. . .
But, we should learn something from the littlest among us.
See - there’s a beauty in being a kid - no fears, no emotional noise; it’s just a given that they show up. Willing. . .eager. . .ready. . .(OK – maybe not always ready.) The only question is – what do they show up for?
In places like inner-city Syracuse – there ain’t a whole lot of options. I don’t think I really need to elaborate on this. You can go one way. Or – you can go another. . .that is – if somebody is willing to provide ‘another’.
Tough call, right? Especially for a child who is still learning how to make decisions. . .
Well, Syracuse Silver Knight Foundation makes it a no-brainer – showing up to develop and inspire a group of kids who might otherwise know only one path. They’ve teamed up with another local org – Hopeprint – on some summertime soccer clinics for underserved locals and resettled refugees.
Just imagine for a moment what it would be like to flee a country where you aren’t welcome – only to arrive in another where you don’t belong. . .
. . .I can’t quite wrap my head around that either.
But Rick, Allen, Bo, and the team – they’re GREAT people - restoring that sense of inclusion for this group through coaching, friendly competition, and even a few hard kicks to the shins (oh wait – that was me out there getting pummeled on the field).
Look - I’m a kid who grew up with a ball at my feet, so I get it. But I don’t think it’s any mystery for anyone – how the things you learn on the field help shape who you become off it.
I broke out my coach’s voice. I got juked by some 10-year-olds. I had a blast.
Though I only spent a quick evening with this crew, and there was more panting than talking – their mission was abundantly clear.
It was just another reminder for me. . .and a lesson, I hope, for the impressionable – that:
Participation IS the award.