Thursday, April 12, 2012


                One of my favorite parts of soccer is not just a goal, but the wonderful celebration that almost always ensues. It’s a natural, joyous reaction to a rare event. Even the greatest scorers still revel in the moment, whether it’s a simple tap-in or a smashing volley.
                Contrast to the advice often given by many American football coaches: “When you score a touchdown, act like you’ve been there before.” And the NFL has clamped down on “excessive” celebrating.
                I remember one of the first high school teams I coached. The program was new, so we weren’t very good and didn’t score much. When we did, at first the players didn’t really celebrate. I encouraged them to; in fact, we even practiced celebrating during training sessions. In games they began to celebrate wildly when scoring, and I believe it increased their motivation. I have to think it contributed to the steady improvement of the program.
                Why adopt a posture that smacks of ennui? It saps vitality, mocks genuine curiosity, stymies innovation, and breeds ingratitude. It does the same to the people around you.
Recently I read of two incidents which, while extreme, show just how harmful such an attitude can be. In the first, a man gave $1K a week to a certain charity for a year. In the second, a man gave a non-profit a $500K gift. In both cases, no one said thank you. The first man stopped giving, and the second withdrew his pledge for another $250K. Who knows how much the bad PR cost them? I trust it also cost them loads of self-respect.
I hope I never become so blasé or jaded that I don’t celebrate reaching any of my goals and that I always include the teammates who set me up for success.
While you think about that, enjoy this video of goal celebrations performed by Stjarnan FC from Iceland. These players know how to do it!

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