My husband and I sat in the stands cheering our son’s soccer team in one of their final matches of the season. Parents of the opposing team, our biggest rival, were interspersed throughout our sea of red and blue. Most of them sounded like they could use an enema. With dour faces, they threw their hands up at every call the referees made against their team. Their grumbling was a downer, but still we cheered our boys on.
“Do the work!” our coach yelled to his team.
In a tone usually associated with eye-rolling, a woman who sat a row down and to my left snickered and said, “Do the work. That’s a good one.” Then she turned to the man next to her and said, “You should write that one down and use it one day.”
"Really, ma'am?” I could no longer stay silent. “Are you seriously making fun of our coach? Because that is one of the kindest human beings I know, and I'm not going to just sit here silent while you dog him.”
You know how you replay things in your head and think, I should have said...? How often I’ve dreamed about reliving that moment so I could do a little better than "one of the kindest human beings I know." I mean, I could have said something like "he's a total badass coach who is passionate about these kids," right?
What I really wanted her to understand was this: that phrase--Do the work!--may have seemed simplistic to a spectator, but those players knew exactly what those three words meant because that coach had poured into them, guided them, and shown them what "doing the work" really means.
For the last week I've been up against two writing deadlines, and you know what keeps popping in my head when I'm sitting at my keyboard with writer's block and wanting to quit?
Do the work! (in the voice of an impassioned soccer coach yelling across a field, of course!)
Such a simple phrase that reminds me that I know what to do, I just need to dig in and do it.
When we dare to speak the words that spur people on, they ripple out and keep going. Even if others ridicule what we say, the words still go, touching people’s lives.
Thanks, Coach Adam, for the phrase all week that has pushed me to do the work!