My dad reminded me yesterday of something I’d forgotten I said about soccer: “it’s the only sport you can be good at and never score.”  True.  I wish I’d not made that statement, but alas, I did.  I’ve made way too many just like it.

At times I can have a rather overbearing personality. 

“‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.”

“Tennyson?”

“No.  Keating.”

(Can anyone call that movie quote?  No prize.  Just the satisfaction.)

That personality flaw has led to many such premature statements as the soccer one that re-visit me for the purpose of biting my arse.  It’s probably because I used to have some pretty significant confidence issues.  And while I still have them, they’re certainly not to the scale they once were.  As I learned to quit those issues, I began to “confidently” make statements using phrases that made it sound like I had everything figured out.  “This IS what I say it is because I say it is, and anyone who thinks differently can kiss it.” 

I don’t know that I’ve fully grown out of that, but I’ve certainly wanted to kick my own tail a time or two for not recognizing the other 6,697,254,040 people in the world (July 2008 CIA estimate).  Nothing is what you think it is.  Ever.

When I made the soccer statement, I was apparently in the middle of ignoring my own bildungsroman.  My evolution is no different than the vast majority of humans.  I knew it all when I knew nothing, and I know so little now that I may know more.

I’ve tried for years to get in to soccer.  It really hit me when Karen and I were in Germany during when they hosted the World Cup.  I hated thinking that the world could love something so much, and I couldn’t understand it.  So, like I successfully did with salsa, guacamole, tomatoes, beer, and pickled okra, I have been working to acquire the soccer taste.

The soccer attempts bore no fruit until this year.  And I really don’t think there was any other way for it to have happened.  Up until the events that have occurred in my life of late, I was less than thrilled about accepting that I couldn’t know everything.  If I couldn’t know everything about something, I was determined to know nothing.  When I’d try to watch the sport, I didn’t know the positions, the rules, the mechanics.  I couldn’t see plays, strategy, skill.  Basically, I saw a load of dudes running around kicking a ball like mad, and I’d determined that none of them were any good at it (with my only proof being the low-scoring games).

Wanna guess how much I know about the sport now? 

Yup.  Nothing. 

I guess I know a little more than I once knew, but really I know nothing. 

The big difference?

I’m a whole lot more okay with knowing nothing now than I used to be.  Now, I just want to enjoy something that’s larger than life.  Now, I am at ease being a world citizen enjoying moments of happiness with the rest of the world.  Now, I am thrilled to see the world come together when the news tells me that the world is distant and church leaders tell me that we are unable to stop the descent into chaos and God is orchestrating the whole thing.

I love watching another country tear up at their anthem.  I love pulling for another country in their match (unless they’re playing the USA).  I love watching an underdog country (a country which, according to history teachers in America, is supposed to be valueless and 3rd world) being excellent in its passions.

Best of all, I love learning to love something about whuch I have no clue. 

I’m probably going to make more stubborn statements.  I’ll probably accidentally alienate myself by lacking control of my words.  I’ll probably annoy myself with know-it-all attitudes that I wish I could eliminate.  But I’ll sleep better knowing that I’m at least trying. 

This is my current wish-list: I really hope to learn to understand all types of people.  I want to quit my obsession with being correct.  I want to stop compulsively correcting others.  I hope to eliminate alienating comments.  And most of all, I want to learn to shut my mouth and stopping giving a rip whether or not I can teach someone else something (I’ve learned that those who I think I’m “teaching” and those at whom I chuckle when they don’t know something are typically not willingly accepting anything coming from an “all-knowing” one). 

I don’t have to be the center of attention.  I don’t have to be the funny one.  I don’t have to be the one everyone loves to see coming.  I don’t have to be famous.  I don’t have to be depressed if someone calls me out.  I don’t have to take offense at correction.  I don’t have to tell someone I know more than they, even if I do.  I can be a happy part of the room without being the hub of conversation or the main source of it.  People will like me even if I don’t introduce myself by trying to act like I know about what they do by spitting out technical terms that are specific to what they do (especially since what I spit out probably exhausts my arsenal).  My conversation doesn’t need to be comprised of the latest thing I’ve learned.  My time is not as valuable as I think it is.  I am not as important as I think I am.  It does not have to be all, and it does not have to be nothing.  I can be at ease with something.  I can be interrupted.  No one hates me just because they laugh at me.  I do not have to prove myself my making fun, and then calling it “the way I relate” or saying “if I’m not making fun of you, then I don’t like you.”  No has to KNOW anything.  There are truly no stupid questions.  If someone doesn’t know what I know or what I think they should know, I am not better. 

Kindness wins.  We are valuable without listing a single reason why.

Soccer’s cool.  Whether I like it or not.

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