Watch the game

It’s Saturday morning, which around our house means a busy morning getting everyone ready and out the door for our weekly soccer mini-marathon/forced march. Does everyone have their soccer shoes? Everyone have a water bottle? What happened to your coat? Did you bring the snack for the second game? Do we need the soccer ball today? Are we ready to go? Wait, what happened to Danny? Who took my keys?

When we get to the field, there’s a similar set of questions and distractions. Yes Ellie, you can go over to the play set. Johnny, did you talk to your coach? Yes, you can have a dollar for a snack. Is Ellie still over there? Did we leave a folding chair in the car? I didn’t think it was going to be this cold. Is that the woman we met at the restaurant the other night? Has anyone seen Ellie? Who took my keys again?

It always surprises me how much sound and fury (albeit at the elementary school level) can accompany three soccer games. And after four hours of constant activity, inevitably I’m driving out of the parking lot thinking, “Did any of the kids win their games?” After all of that, I can probably count the individual plays I can remember on one hand, because I’ve spent three hours running errands, scurrying about, looking the other way, and attending to various distractions.

There’s a somewhat trite and overly obvious event fundraising metaphor here, and since event fundraising is what I do, I’ll go ahead and make it: Oftentimes we spend so much time attending to the details of the event (and for most events, there are hundreds, if not thousands of details) that we lose sight of the fact that the event at its core is an effort to make our mission real. And more specifically, the event is a way to make the mission real so we can raise money to achieve it. The mission, and our passion to fund it, is the what the event is about. Place settings, site maps, signs, thank you cards, and the ever-present t-shirts are all important details. But that isn’t the event, any more than talking about play sets, snack time, lawn chairs, and neighborhood gossip helps me do what my kids really want, which is watch them play soccer.

There’s an only slightly less trite, slightly less obvious life metaphor here, too, and since I’m the blog writer I’ll go ahead and make that one as well. We all spend a lot of time preparing for the game: Packing for it, driving to it, ensuring we’re properly clothed and fed and protected for it. But we spend so much less time actually enjoying it. 

A good message for spring: Don’t worry as much about the details. Watch the game — or better yet, get on the field.