Jessica Tsai is an 11 year old girl who is a student at Ecole Guyot. Her favourite class is math. She is also a soccer player, a darned good one too.
Jessica has played soccer since she was seven. Last year, Jessica played in the
Manitoba Games, and she is currently a member of the U12 Bonivital Flames developmental team. Her understanding of the beautiful game is profound for her age. When I asked her what her favourite part of playing central midfield was, she said: "You see the whole field. You need to know where all the players are, and you need to create and utilize space."
Too often in the news lately are stories about the treatment of the officials of the game. I asked Jessica why respecting the refs is important.
"They are the leaders of the game, and you don’t want to be on the ref’s bad side," she said.
Jessica’s mom, Leanne, also has a good understanding of this concept.
"Respect the refs, coaches, and opponents win or lose. Treat people how you want to be treated. A wrong call may be made, and the ref may know they made a mistake, but they must stick to the call. We are all learning."
Both mom and Jessica spoke highly of the Flames’ coaches for helping instill an understanding that parents and players must always be respectful of the officials.
"Coach says it’s just the way it goes. You win some, you lose some. It’s all good," Jessica said.
When I asked Jessica what her next goal is she gave me a response that made me smile ear to ear.
"Every game giving 100% all the time, not just picking my spots. I want to make things happen, not let things happen," she said.
I commend you, Jessica, and your parents, coaches, and teammates.
Not only are you making things happen on the field, you are being leaders and role models and helping to teach many how
important and essential it is that we all treat the officials of our sports with respect.
Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker Troy Westwood is co-host of The Big Show, every weekday morning from 6 to 10 a.m. on TSN 1290 radio. He writes about Winnipeg’s unsung sports heroes every other week in the Canstar Community News weeklies.