Blog Post - Sep 23, 2019

Giving a Boost

This past week we asked our youngest-ever contributor, 9-year-old Izzie, to tell us about her love of soccer and how she uses it as an opportunity to encourage kids on her team. Izzie proves that there are no age limits when it comes to living engaged.

Izzie Holding Soccer Ball

Izzie considers soccer more than a hobby. It’s her passion – something she spends hours doing, whether playing in a tournament or practicing in her backyard. For the last 5 years she’s been honing her skills, not just technically but also as an engaged teammate. You see, Izzie isn’t just concerned about winning or about her own performance, she cares about how each member of her team is doing, noticing when someone is having a bad day, struggling with a situation at home, or simply feeling discouraged about how they performed on the field.

We asked her a few questions so you can hear directly from the girl who will make you wish she was on your team and who inspires us all to be the best cheerleaders we can be for others.

What makes a team work well? If we have fun together it makes everyone want to play soccer. [Last weekend] we went to get ice cream as a team, sat together, and were laughing so hard with each other. It’s important to do those things because it makes our team closer and we want to spend more time together. We know we’re going to play with our friends because we spend time outside of soccer too.

What is something you do to make the team better? I focus on encouraging others. I have a friend who plays goalie – she’s really good at it – but sometimes when the ball goes past her, she doesn’t feel very good about herself. Sometimes I’ve heard fans and others watching making jokes. And I’ll say, “It’s okay, it’s just one; we’ll get it next time!” to try to pick her up.

My other friend, who was on my soccer team last year, was really down on herself, thinking “I can’t do this, I’m so bad at this.” I didn’t think that was true because she’s actually good at soccer. I think to myself, “If I can give her a boost, that will make her want to keep doing her best and not feel so down on herself.”

How do you know someone is having a hard day? Sometimes they tell me or they just look really sad or aren’t playing as hard as I know they can. Some kids come from hard things at home or on the bus and are discouraged. I try to give them a boost.

Is that how you see your role, giving people a boost? Yeah!

What about when other kids do something good? I cheer loud for them so they’ll feel good about themselves and love playing soccer even more. After the games I always find a few teammates and say, “Nice goal!” “Good pass!” or “Great game!” to encourage them.

How do you see yourself living engaged on your team? I focus on being a great teammate and try to make others feel good… I give them a boost! That’s how I think of myself living engaged.

Greg, Dairyland’s Marketing Manager and Izzie’s dad chimed in too, saying, “One of the things I find really neat about Izzie is how focused on others she is. When she was little, we would always have her say thank you to the coaches and find one teammate to encourage after each game. Now she does it automatically regardless of how the game went, or how she played. And it’s not just one person anymore; usually she finds as many people as she can. Her mom and I are very proud of how hard she competes, but even more, how focused she is on encouraging and building friendships with others.”

Wherever you find yourself, there is an opportunity to spread a little kindness and give someone else the boost they need. How will you Live Engaged?