Have you ever stopped to realize how good God is? I hadn’t until I trained a group of kids. Training changed the way I looked at the world. “God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with,” said Billy Graham. He could’ve never said it better.
I stepped onto the soccer field looking around for where to put my stuff. I was training a group of disabled kids, and it was my first time. The program was called TopSoccer. I put my stuff down and noticed a boy had a jersey on that read TopSoccer. I assumed he would be one of the kids I was training, so I walked up to him and introduced myself. He was shy, but I convinced him to come pass the ball with me. His name was Bryce. At first, he was reserved, but I kept asking him questions and he eventually opened up. By the time the other kids got there he was jumping up and down with excitement for practice, and telling me everything he could possibly think of about himself.
As kid after kid showed up I went to each one asking their name. As we went through the practice I fell in love with each kid. There was Jack, who always gave me a high five and jumped with joy if he made a save. Then there was Megan, who always had to make sure her team name was unicorn. There was Caleb, who almost never talked, but had more raw skill toward the game than most players I know. Michael had a love for grabbing my hands, and twirling around me in a circle. Ethan, who was a quick learner, always came ready to do a new skill. Finally, there was Finn. The coach would always ask me to help Finn because I was the only one he would listen to. He would always grab my hand, and talk to me every single training. Sometimes he would run off the field to give his sister a hug then come back and give me one. One practice in particular, Finn got hit in the face with a ball, and started crying so he ran to give me a hug. In that moment, my heart melted completely.
I had never seen such a great group of kids in my life. Every single one of those kids was so kind, and excited I couldn’t believe it. I had loved soccer so much for as long as I could remember, but I had never seen so much happiness to be outside with friends doing drills with the ball. These kids gave me something I could not find anywhere else. Each and every one of them had some disability stopping them from doing something like running, talking correctly, or even sweating that I never realized was a blessing for me to be able to do. It shocked me that even though these most basic experiences had been taken from them they could still be so enthusiastic about life.
I only got to train with them for 45 minutes a week. It seems like such a simple thing, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. Seeing them, getting to know these kids caused me to see life in a totally different way. I got to give these kids a new friendship. I got to teach them skills, and give them someone to listen to anything they had to say.
When I say I helped train disabled kids I get responses like I was helping them, which I was, but the greatest part of the experience was the gifts those kids gave me. They made me see that there was nothing wrong with being different, and that no matter what life is throwing at you there’s always a reason to be happy. They made me value the simple experiences in life. I thank God for allowing me to train them because they made me understand the balance of giving and receiving in life. They made me understand, as Billy Graham says, “God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.”