Bennie, that’s what I call that beautiful wife of mine, Bennie. She was charged with being the assistant coach of one of our six children’s soccer teams. Her first coaching job, she took it very seriously. I learned that the hard way when I tried to intervene during a game. Our nine year old, Jordan was new to the game and he found himself out of position on the opposite side of the field. My Beautiful Bennie yelled to him to get on the right side of the field. As he sprinted to the proper position the ball rolled across his path. She yelled out to him.
“Get the ball!”
Naively I tried to touch her on the shoulder and ask her to bring the intensity down a notch. She snatched her shoulder from my touch, turned and glared at me for a very scary eight seconds. It seemed like an eternity for me shaking in my Nikes. Then she abruptly turned her attention back to the game. Just to our right stood soccer mom’s giving me stern looks, reminding me to stay in my place. I never crossed that line again.
Our son learned the game and progressed slowly. He didn’t score a goal in the first six games of the season. Bennie continued to work with him and his wicked left foot. She challenged him and he responded by dominating teammates in practice. Soon his right foot was as strong as his left. In game seven it all clicked for him; he scored two goals! Jordan scored goals every game after that, sometimes four in one game. I stood proudly on the sidelines on Saturdays watching all of our children play but I was especially excited about Jordan and his passionate coach.
The team wasn’t very good initially but Jordan carried them into the playoffs scoring twenty-two goals in the final eight games. Bennie taught our young soccer star to execute the corner kicks. She taught him how to bend the ball towards the goal like she did as a kid. She explained to him that she used to actually score goals from the corner kick. He was more than excited to accomplish that feat. He wanted to bend it like Bennie.
In the first game of the playoffs he kicked a corner kick an actually made the ball bend towards the goal. His face lit up as a light bulb went on in his head. The very next corner kick he took, Jordan made the ball bend and hit a player on the opposing team in the backside and then go into the goal. He was excited but not satisfied as the crowd cheered him on. He wanted to make it right in. The final playoff game of the season he accomplished the feat again instead this time he got the ball to go directly into the goal. He actually bended it like Bennie! Our little boy was ecstatic and his mother couldn’t have been more proud.
The team lost that playoff game but over achieved for the season. The coaches and parents couldn’t be more proud of the team and I couldn’t be more proud of my super coach wife. She inspired those children, got the most out of their abilities and eventually she taught our son how to Bend it Like Bennie!