Chew Bear Scores a Goal!

After returning home from the library, Chew Bear must have re-read the “The Invisible Island” dozens of times. For several weeks he thought and thought and thought, trying to remember where he had seen the symbol before and what his flashback had meant. However, Chew Bear was unsuccessful at uncovering any more details into his past.

Chacha had noticed that for the past couple of months, Chew Bear had become less of the happy-go-lucky young boy she knew and loved. He seemed to confine himself to his tree house more often than not, and his attitude was a bit jumpy. She decided it was time to do something about the rut he seemed to be in and enrolled Chew Bear in the school soccer program. Spring was just around the corner and fresh air and the camaraderie of a team would surely boost Chew Bears spirits, not to mention get him out of the house!

On Chew Bear’s first day of soccer practice he was all but enthusiastic. He reluctantly strapped on his shin guards (they would protect his shins should another player accidently kick them) and slowly laced up his new, bright green soccer cleats. The cleats were pretty cool, Chew Bear thought to himself. He then hopped into the car and Chacha and Chaka drove him down the road to the school soccer fields.

When Chew Bear arrived at practice he noticed a couple of his friends amongst the team and ever so slightly his spirit began to lift. Practice consisted of practicing kicking the ball into the large net goal, passing from one player to another, and learning the proper way to throw in the soccer ball after it went out of bounds. The whole sport really interested Chew Bear. It seemed that he was a natural with the soccer ball and his foot skills were what the coach called “mature”. He also noticed that he was better than his friends. Every one of his teammates was eager for Chew Bear to take control of the soccer ball and score. He was the star of the team!

For several weeks the team met and practiced at the field, in preparation for their first match. On the evening before the big game, Coach sat down the team and asked them to vote on a team captain. Once all the votes were collected and tallied, Coach announced that Chew Bear was to be the captain of the team! Chew Bear was thrilled and for the first time in a long time, he forgot about his past and focused on the NOW. He couldn’t wait to take the field and beat his opponents the next day.

On the day of the first soccer match, Chew Bear awoke bright and early, donned his new soccer uniform and strapped his “captain” band to his sleeve. At the field he gathered his team mates and gave them a pep talk. At the sound of the first whistle, Chew Bear took off running with the soccer ball quickly moving in time with his feet.

Chew Bear wove in and out of the opponent players, confusing them with a fake kick at one moment and quick foot skills at the next. It was only a matter of minutes before he scored the first goal of his life. The crowd went WILD and Chew Bear couldn’t help but feel a bit smug.

The first half of the game went on just like that. Chew Bear would take control of the ball and score a goal at every chance possible. The rest of his teammates barely had a chance to touch the ball. By the time the halftime whistle sounded, the team was ahead 5-2!

As Chew Bear drank from his water bottle (it is very important to stay hydrated when engaging in physical activity and sports) he noticed the moral of his team was uncharacteristically low. No one was patting him on the back or telling him how great he was. Actually, the team had congregated as far from him as possible! When he went up to the group and started talking about how great his third goal, a corner kick, had been, the rest of the players grumbled and turned away. Chew Bear did not understand what was wrong, they were winning everyone should have been happy.

During the beginning of the second half, Chew Bears team began to slowly give up assisting Chew Bear and the opponent began to dominate the field. It wasn’t long before the game was all tied up at 5-5. Chew Bear was getting angry and even kicked at the ground once or twice. He barely even noticed the disappointed looks coming from Chaka and Chacha in the crowd.

It was at that moment that Coach called a time out and pulled Chew Bear aside. Chew Bear asked the coach why the rest of the team wasn’t trying anymore. Coach explained to Chew Bear that he believe the rest of the team was sad because they weren’t getting any action, they hadn’t had a chance to even try to score.

“But we are winning!” exclaimed Chew Bear, “Everyone should be happy.”

“Winning isn’t everything,” replied Coach, “Your friends just want a chance to play and work together as a team.”

Coach then told Chew Bear it’s not about winning; it is how you play the game that really matters. And in this case, Chew Bear was playing selfishly and not sharing the ball. It made sense to Chew Bear. He realized he would not be having as much fun if he hadn’t had a chance to score or run the ball.  Coach then sent Chew Bear back onto the field and the game resumed.

There wasn’t much time left and as much as Chew Bear wanted to win the game, he knew how important it was to work together as a team and give the others a chance to shine. Chew Bear past the ball to his teammate, Joe, who looked at him in shock.

“Go, go, go!” shouted Chew Bear.

Joe took off running and Chew Bear trailed behind and watched as Joe passed the ball to Katie, who then passed the ball to Craig near the goal. There was just a few seconds left on the clock and Chew Bear watched Craig kick the ball right into the goal just a moment before the final whistle was blown.

They had won the game! And they had done it together, Chew Bear thought. Chew Bear ran up to Craig and congratulated him and then everyone gathered around and started high fiving one another. All Chew Bear could see were smiling faces. So THIS was what being on a team was about, he thought. It was everyone working together toward a common goal. It was about sharing, and working together and enjoying the moment.

After the game the whole team went out for ice cream to celebrate. They sat on picnic tables and talked about the game, the sport and who they would play next. Chew Bear loved soccer and he loved his team, and for a while he forgot all about that symbol and the flashback…….

To be continued…..