This post is from Chris Brown, NFI's Executive Vice President.
In a little over a year, I will face one of the greatest challenges a father can face—watching a child go to college. Little did I know when my oldest started to play soccer when she was 4 years old that she would develop into a player interested in and good enough to play at the collegiate level. Selecting a college has been difficult enough, but it became even more difficult for us as we tried to find a college that provides the academic program and rigor my daughter needs and wants, an athletic program that understands the priority of “student” in “student-athlete,” and a coaching staff that my wife and I can trust to care for our daughter as she leaves the security and safety of our home.
The recruiting journey started nearly two years ago and just came to an end with my daughter verbally committing to attend and play soccer at Trinity University (San Antonio, TX) starting in 2013. Trinity is considered to be one of the top academic universities in this part of the country, and has a well-respected soccer program (.847 winning percentage since 2004). Lance Key is the head coach, three-time All American collegiate player, and former Major League Soccer player with the Colorado Rapids.
Lance recently become a father for the first time. We hit if off during my daughter’s recruiting visit as we talked about the joy he felt anticipating the birth of his first child. Since the birth of Ava, we’ve talked about the deep, abiding love he has for her and how it has deepened the love he has for his wife.
As he sat in church this past Mother’s Day, he reflected on his love for his wife and mother of his beautiful little girl. He spontaneously sent the following e-mail to the mothers of his current players and to those of the girls in my daughter’s incoming class who have also committed to play for Trinity. His message is one that every father should remember—the importance of a mother’s involvement and commitment to her children and how it facilitates and makes easier a father’s role.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there!! As I sat in church this morning, I felt compelled to send a message to you who have decided to entrust your daughters to my care...during such a critically important time of their lives.
As a man who has always had a very special relationship with my own mother, and now drawing from the experience of watching my incredible wife deliver and care for our little girl, Ava, I am reminded of so much of the love that a mother invests into her children.
As I sat yesterday, watching our class of 2012 graduates, we listened to a man offer some incredible words. He spoke about a great number of fascinating topics with great purpose and encouragement, but one statement in particular resonated with me. He encouraged all of us to redirect our aim away from what the world recognizes as success and focus our efforts on a life of significance. What an incredible perspective this was, and how appropriate the timing...to encourage 22- and 23-year-old college graduates the day before Mother's Day to appreciate the things in their life that are invaluable over those things that are assigned value.
Parenthood is perhaps the most significant thing in the world, far greater than any victory between the touchlines or promotion at work...and the ability the mothers have to completely sustain their children goes beyond description.
I salute you mothers today, along with my wife, my mother, and my sister. I am so grateful to get the opportunity to know you in the coming years, and appreciate what you do so very much. There is nothing quite like a mother's love.
Have a wonderful day celebrating your incredible significance.
Women's Soccer Coach