Play Your Square Yard

Some of my fondest memories are of my children playing sports. When my youngest son, Daniel, first began to play Select soccer, I remember how much we enjoyed watching the boys compete and grow together as teammates.

Several of the most competitive matches my son’s club faced in both league play and in tournaments were against a club from Mundelein, Illinois. The Mundelein soccer team was coached by a gentleman originally from Scotland. His players were very disciplined, particularly for their age group, and the transitions on the field and their overall teamwork were amazing to watch.

Recalling the memories of how well these U-9 and U-10 soccer players worked together made me think, “Why can’t business, education and government in the U.S function this cohesively?” If these 9- and 10-year-old boys can do it, why can’t we figure out how to come together to unify America?

The players from the Mundelein Club were so well coached they would sub in and out of matches with little prompting from the sideline. When players came out of a match they would go directly over to the coach for instruction.

The Mundelein coach never raised his voice and seldom left his lawn chair on the sideline during a match. In fact, the only time you would hear him call out instruction to his team was on the rare occasion that there would be a breakdown in their spacing on the field. Then you would hear the coach call out, “Play Your Square Yard.”

What this coach had instilled in his players at an early age was that you are responsible for everything that happens within the square yard around you, nothing else. Play as a unit, know your assignment, and let your teammates by accountable for what happens within their specific areas of responsibility on the field.

Now I know this is overly simplistic, but consider for a moment how things might change for the better if each of us would just play our square yard.

Just a thought.


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