(That’s an allusion to the defiant King Leonidas’ famous line in “300”, for anyone who cares).

But seriously, soccer season started tonight. I’m coaching my son Joel’s team, and my older son Noah is my assistant coach. It’s boy night, and man is it fun.

My goals are:

1. That the boys would have fun.
2. That every boy would walk away from every game thinking, “Coach Brad thinks I’m completely amazing. I’m starting to believe him.”
3. That we’d learn some mad soccer skills together.

I think we’re off to a great start. I love watching boys puff out their skinny little chests with pride. I love cheering them on. I love affirming them and watching that affirmation become a spark, and later, a fire. I love running around like one of them, pretending to be a goofball to make them look good (it comes naturally, actually). I love sucking orange quarters at halftime and watching kids show off the snack they brought when it’s their turn to come through.

And I love having a pizza party at the end of the year to celebrate. I love the strategic moment in the pizza party when a parent invariably asks me what I do for a living. I love telling them that the coach who built confidence into their son is a pastor and I love letting them wrestle with that.

There’s something wonderful about it all. And I get to do it with my sons. Joel gets to play, and Noah gets to watch me invest in young lives and try his hand at it alongside me. Did I mention that they gave us coaches jerseys this year? Pumpkin-orange-polyester goodness, they are.

It just doesn’t get much better than this.