adaptive sports, Disability, Power soccer

A Demonstration Of True Sportsmanship: ASPO Force Power Soccer Team

On December 1, 2018 I witnessed something special that is many times absent in our society these days. My Power Soccer team, the Hot Shots played in a tournament hosted by ASPO Force in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Incrediplex Sorts Complex. We had a great time playing against every team we played, but the game we played against ASPO Force really stood out to me as something special.

What started out as a typical game with friends quickly became a game I will remember for a long time. You see, the Hot Shots were down a couple of key players due to injury from a prior game and prior commitments, which left us an opportunity to allow some of our younger and newer players to have a little more playing time. This also opened up the door for ASPO Force to take us to the cleaners since they are in a division above us, and are a team who has had more time together to train and hone their skills. Instead, they took that opportunity to demonstrate great sportsmanship.

Not only did they end up pulling back their stronger players just a bit, they actively assisted us in guiding and teaching our newer players during the game. They allowed us to attempt plays we have been working on, and helped the younger one’s to better understand their prime positioning on the court. I witnessed, on multiple occasions, their team members helping our younger players understand where they should best place themselves for a successful play. They played great fundamental soccer creating an incredibly enjoyable experience for our team.

Photo courtesy of David Arnold from Loft 58 Photography

This was our youngest player’s first tournament and second game EVER, and because of their graciousness in observing and understanding our circumstances, he was able to have more playing time, more quality practice time in a game setting, and he ended the day with a huge smile on his face.

Photo courtesy of David Arnold from Loft 58 Photography

Although we lost the game, I was so proud of the improvements I saw in all of our playing skills because ASPO Force allowed us this opportunity to grow. They didn’t just give in to us by any means. They didn’t just “let us” have the ball (I don’t think we even scored a goal), but they took an opportunity to give us just the right amount of competition that we needed at that moment in order to practice fundamental skills that we need to improve. That is what I mean when I say power soccer is more than just a game, it’s family.

We seek to build each other up even in the midst of competition. We celebrate each other’s successes, and we applaud each other’s improvements. We graciously take the time needed to mold young, new players into the great players we see in the highest levels of power soccer.

This type of sportsmanship is not unique to ASPO Force. It can be witnessed in many teams throughout the power soccer community, but this is what ASPO Force provided us in that game. They gave us an opportunity to teach, to grow, and to play a fun, exciting, fundamental game with our friends. So thank you, ASPO Force, for demonstrating so well how you can play competitively and graciously simultaneously. We look forward to our next rematch!

Photo courtesy of David Arnold from Loft 58 Photography

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