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Out on the Soccer Field... a conversation

by Kayla Aldrich, Read to Them staff

Hello, all, and happy Wednesday! If you've followed along with the reading schedule, then you've likely just finished or will finish Chapter Three of Lola Levine is Not Mean! some time today. Even if you've gone beyond or are still reading earlier chapters, that's just fine, too. There's a notable scene in the third chapter where Lola's competitiveness gets the better of her and one of her classmates, Juan, gets hurt.

So what went wrong? Could Juan's hurt ankle have been prevented? Were the reactions of Lola's classmates too severe? Let's chat about it.

There's no doubt that healthy competition is a good thing. It's what makes sporting events, game shows, and the like so fun to watch and participate in. And having passion for a hobby is a good thing, too! Love for art, music, writing, and sports is what makes each of us dynamic, and is what often fills our hearts when we're in need of comfort. But there is a line and, without meaning to... Lola crosses it.

We know from the get-go that Lola Loves Soccer. It's something she finds great joy in whether she's playing by herself, with her brother, or with kids at school. It's the sort of activity she'll wake up at six-fifteen on a Saturday to do, because she's just so excited to be up and kicking a soccer ball. It's just that compared to the kids in her class, Lola's passion for soccer outshines theirs. By a lot. It's in the last few minutes before the game is ended, both teams tied, that Lola decides to slide in for the ball - but instead of her feet colliding with the ball, she slams right into Juan's ankle.

In the immediate aftermath, there's lots of commotion: Juan tells Lola to go away, Makayla calls Lola mean, and Principal Blot comes storming out onto the field. In many ways, this moment is a wake up call for Lola. It also begs the question, "Can Lola work things out with the kids in her class and still be true to her love of soccer?"

We think so.

The important thing to note is that Lola understands she's made a mistake, and that she rushes over to Juan to apologize for sliding into him. She had no intention of hurting Juan, and only slid across the grass to try and win the game. In future rounds of soccer, Lola should be encouraged to listen to the kids on her team - it'd be a great way to foster friendships and trust, and it's a lot less exhausting than trying to win a game all on your own. But our biggest suggestion? Lola, there's no shame in losing. Kids are often so hard on themselves, but the biggest win isn't a trophy or a medal, it's the effort put into the game or competition, and that should always, always be appreciated.

While we can't save Lola from going to the principal's office, we hope that you'll channel your competitive natures in a way that doesn't compromise who you are. Be sure to join us back here on Friday for your slate of Friday Writing Prompts! Share photos with us during the reading event on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Looking for a community to talk about all things Lola Levine? Don’t forget to join Flipgrid to share your thoughts with your peers. Be well, all, and happy reading

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