Bennett Decker

TAP Teen-  Beth Sholom Congregation

For the last four years, I have had the pleasure of assistant coaching a special needs soccer team “Keith’s Kids” (part of the Kehillah Soccer League).  This entry could easily be about the skills that I’ve learned from these kids, but that would be too easy.  Over the period of time I have coached them, I have developed a personal relationship with many of the kids.  This is what I want to talk about.

Now, I’m not particularly good at soccer.  I love watching it (Come on you Spurs!) and I’m very enthusiastic about playing it, but I’m not very good at it:  it’s the same way most kids feel about skateboarding when they’re 10.  But amongst these kids, I don’t have to be a top-level player in order to coach.  That’s not to say that the kids aren’t good, or that they don’t care; some of them are very good players.  But the reason why those kids come back, year after year, is not because their parents make them; it’s because they want to.  That to me is inspiring.

I have learned so much over the years from these kids, their attitudes, their indispensible energy, and their unadulterated enthusiasm.  It is such a joy to take an hour of my time each Sunday in the fall and play soccer with a group of unbelievable kids.  This is my favorite thing that I have done working with special needs kids.