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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why I’m Glad I’m Not That Good at Soccer

by Shawn Tucker:

This week I’m glad that I’m not that good at soccer. I’m good enough to get together on weekends to play with some friends, and I can hold my own. But when I was growing up, I wanted to be a very, very good soccer player. I wanted to play professionally. I played on some very good teams, but I was always just a player who could make a solid contribution, nothing more.

So when I turned 19, well, no one from Barcelona or Arsenal or even Tottenham (who I would have told “no”) was hoping that I would be playing for them. Without those prospects, and mostly because I really wanted to, I went off to Chile for two years. No need to talk about my mission experiences, as they were pretty typical—I saw the historical shift in Chile as they moved from dictatorship to democracy, witnessed miracle after miracle in the lives of amazing people, and had a knife pulled on me by someone who ended up just being a knife salesman. You know, typical stuff.

Mr. Parker is very, very good at what he does, and he has an entirely different set of circumstances. Not only am I glad that I’m not that good at soccer, but I’m glad that I didn’t have to make the decision he has made. I will add, for the sake of full disclosure, that as a Tar Heels basketball fan, I’m glad about the inspiration he received.

This week, it turns out, I’m especially glad that I’m not that good at soccer. On Wednesday I saw a picture and then a video on Facebook of a young Chilean man opening his mission call. He and his parents are clearly filled with joy. And his parents were two people who were baptized in Chile when I was there. I had the privilege of teaching them, loving them, and yearning for them to receive blessings that I felt God had for them. When I commented on their son’s picture, Mauricio, the father, wrote “mira tus frutos—gracias” which means “look at your fruits, thank you. I wrote back, “this makes me shout for joy and weep with gratitude.”

And that is why I’m glad that I’m not that good at soccer.

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