Justin Ricklefs


Let’s Cheer FOR Each Other, Not Against

It might be the worst decision we’ll make this fall. Or it may turn out fantastic. Time will tell.

But against our better judgment, Silas is playing two sports at once. He’s only five-years-old.

Fall baseball was as certain as the leaves falling, he wasn’t missing that. But then a sweet friend of his, a boy somewhat timid and shy like Silas, asked him to play on his soccer team.


He’s never played soccer before. But he’s into it so far.

His first game was last Tuesday night. As we were walking to the field, his oversized jersey still un-tucked, we saw one of his baseball teammates in a different jersey. It became pretty clear, pretty quick that we were playing against this little guy. Not with him.


His parents have become friends of ours, his dad is one of the baseball coaches as well.

“So Georgie’s not on my team dad?”

“Well not in soccer buddy. He’s still a Natural though, so you’ll be on his team Thursday night for the baseball game.”


“OK dad.”  He might as well have said, “Whatever, you’re confusing me.”

Silas’ soccer team, the self-named Tiny Elves, took it on the chin in game one. In part because our little buddy on the other team scored about a dozen goals by himself.

Here Brooke and I are on the Tiny Elves’ sideline going crazy each time Georgie scored, our supposed “opponent”.  Attaboys, great jobs, way-to-gos.

We’ve developed an affection for this kid. We wanted him to do just as well as we wanted our team to do well.

So we cheered for him like we cheered for the Elves. So much so that one of the moms on our team looked at Brooke with the “what is going on” type look on her face. I’m certain there’s a perfect emoji for the confused look she had.

The kids finished the game, ate their snack, drank their Gatorade, and then went and played tag in the sand together. Even though they weren’t wearing the same jerseys.

The depth of the thought didn’t sink in at that moment but it clarified for me the next day in the office.

I tweeted this, “Cheer FOR someone today, not against them. Plenty of people in the first boat already. We need you in the first.”

Whether it’s a meaningless Tiny Elves soccer game or a high-flying career, the easiest (and most common) route of all is to cheer against people. I’m guilty of this more than I want to admit.

Root for their failure. Pull for their demise. Cheer for their undoing.

But isn’t it beautiful to watch what happens when someone gets cheered FOR?

Root for their advancement. Pull for their potential. Cheer for their doing.

If you’re a fan of sports at all, then you know about Coach John Wooden of UCLA. Wikipedia him if you don’t. His legacy would fill up my entire blog.

He has a million quotes that are awesome, but I love this one in particular:

“Praise is a great motivator. Criticism is a great teaching tool if done properly, but praise is the best motivator.” – Coach John Wooden

Being critical is easy, we need more cheerers. Jump in that boat, there’s still plenty of room.


Follow My Blog to Get the Daily Story

Copyright © 2023 Justin Ricklefs. All Rights Reserved.