"Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Busy Weekend-Part 6

Warning: LOTS of pictures of somebody else's kid on this blog. If you aren't a grandparent of this child you might be extremely bored. You've been warned. 

Have you ever witnessed one of those moments in your child's life when you literally saw the light bulb go off in their head and the confidence just grew like crazy?

Maybe it was studying and getting a good grade and believing, really believing that he/she was as smart as you were telling them.

Maybe it was playing a musical instrument and really believing they could do something special after years of telling them of the gift they have from God.

Maybe it's sports. Maybe God made them to be an athlete and they excel on the field, track, court, etc.

My girlfriend and I were blessed to witness a moment like that with Garrett in January.

Ever since he was six or seven he's been praying and asking God to be a professional soccer player. Not an unusual request for 99% of boys that grow up in Brasil.

He's been persistent about the request. Other people have been praying for that as well.

The world's most popular sport definitely could use a strong Christian role model.

Garrett has played soccer every year since we've lived here. Another "not unusual" thing for 99% of the boys in Brasil.

He has talent, but it always seemed that his confidence level kept him from being what God made him to be. Garrett has a tender heart and thinks of others. Being aggressive on the field was tough for him naturally because of how God made him.

That all changed in January.

He played in a 3 day soccer tournament in a town about 3 hours away from our city.

My girlfriend and I, along with Anderson and Giovanni, decided to drive up one day to watch a game. Garrett had been calling us after his games to let us know how they were doing.

We had one last chance to see him play before they were possibly knocked out of the tournament. They had to win the game we were going to see to continue.

The place was very rural.

Here was the field.
 It was a beautiful place with vineyards in the background as well as cows.

 Here were our seats during the game.
We got there just in time for kick off but Garrett wasn't playing. He had started every game as an attacker  (forward in the U.S.?) but wasn't starting this game. We thought maybe the coach was giving everyone a chance to play.

We found out later that his stomach was bothering him after he ate breakfast. So he didn't start. He didn't think he was going to play at all.

His team was losing 1-0 and not playing well.

There was about 5 minutes left in the game and we saw him get up and talk to the coach.
He entered the game and about 1 minute later he was fouled.
The foul set up the free kick. Notice the the foot hitting the ball on the bottom left of the picture.
The goalie stopped the free kick but didn't hold on to the ball.
Garrett (number 7) came across from the other side of the field.....
......and knocked in the rebound for the tying goal.....
 ......followed by the celebration.
His mom tends to get a little loud during her kids' games. Especially when they do something good. She's fluent in Portuguese but the yelling always comes out in English. Completely embarrasses Garrett. So the faster we can wave and acknowledge mom the quicker she will stop yelling.

About a minute later he kicked again and hit the post.

Note the agony of his face.
About 2 minutes later another guy on his team hit the winning goal and they/we celebrated.
When the game was over the team mobbed Garrett.
The team then prayed together.....
......and as he walked off the field he heard the call from one of his biggest fans and he came over to talk to him.
I love this picture because you can see in Anderson's eyes how awesome he thinks his big brother is.
As he came off the field the rest of the team started yelling "Norte Americano" which means "North American." There aren't many North Americans that play soccer here.
Before we left the coach came and spoke with us. He told us Garrett wasn't feeling well at all and said he couldn't play at all but the coach said that when he saw us he changed his mind and decided to give it a try. We, and he, are glad he did.

Garrett, as is his humble nature, just kind of shrugged and got kind of embarrassed by all the attention.

We went back home that day and the next day I got a call from Garrett. He was crying in a way that I haven't heard in a long time. He was devastated because his team was beaten in the penalties of the quarter final game.

I called him back a few minutes later. The sadness had passed and we were able to talk about how well his team did. No one expected them to do much and they finished in 6th place out of 51 teams. One thing I like about Garrett's nature is that he doesn't hold on to stuff for a long time. He loves soccer, wants to be a pro but it doesn't consume his being.

He came home that day and was a different person on the field. A more confident person.

Why do I share this? Why do I share something that happened 4 months ago if I am still sharing about last weekend?

He went out of town again, last weekend, with his team to a beach town a couple hours away from here. Another championship.

They won 3 games and won the championship against teams from different cities.

They won their 3 games by a combined score of 21-1. Garrett only played the first game and 10 minutes of the second before hurting his foot and wasn't able to play anymore.

In that one game and 10 minutes he scored 5 goals. He was the leading scorer of the entire tournament.

He shared with us but didn't brag. He was more happy that his team won the championship.

I can't explain the difference in his confidence level compared to January but I like that how the team does is still more important than how he individually does.

When the Spirit moves you to pray for our son, we would appreciate you joining us in prayer for him to be a professional some day.

Like we said, the sports world needs more strong, Christian men to lead it.

And the busy weekend continues.

1 comment:

Matthew Rehbein said...

you might be able to live off the g man's soccer earnings after all...what a guy! congratulations to you and to him!