Costa Rica has been turning us. Slowly. Until now. I do believe what started out as a bit half-hearted has been fully converted by this World Cup and Costa Rica's historic performance. And the ensuing mania in our right-now country which we have enjoyed immensely.
But as I have been watching these matches (see that, using proper lingo and all) closely, I have learned a thing or two. Or three. They have nothing to do with soccer. They are lessons from the men on the field. And they are showing me a thing or two about how to raise little men.
Here are three take-aways on raising boys I have learned from the watching the first round of World Cup play:
From the players: If something is worth doing, it is worth doing with excellence. Appearance is a key aspect of excellence. You guys, these men are not playing a game out there. They are sacrificing life and limb in the pursuit of excellence. They have form. They have technique. They have heart. They have training. They have teamwork. All things any mom of boys would easily list as key aspects of character that must be formed in boys for them to become men of honor and know success. But they have other things too, these men of excellence. They have hair. And tattoos. And neon cleats. And these things are important. Apparently. whether you choose to sport long Latin curls, mounds of blonde dread locks, or a shiny bald noggin has something to do with the way you are perceived by team mates, coaches, and opponents. Apparently too, the brightness of shoes affects ow hard and how accurate you can kick the ball. Or at least how hard you think you can kick the ball. For a long time, my house was filled boys who saw underwear and cowboy boots as high fashion. Who liked to run each other's buzz cuts for fun. Suddenly, these boy-men are very concerned about brands of shoes and hair gel and who is going to cut their hair and whether that person is capable of making their bangs flip just right. They each have a favored color scheme and style. I forget whose is whose. I can't keep up with brands of gel and the preferred scent of Axe body spray. And I was kind of blowing them off with a "what does it all matter, you're boys" attitude. Until World Cup. Now I know it matters. Very much. I am not quite sure what it is these boy-men will pursue excellence at, but I know it will matter that they appear to already be excellent at it. To them and to the people around them. We might not be rushing out to buy neon cleats just yet, but I will be a bit more cheerful about restocking the hair gel and Axe supply now.