This was the first year my daughter, Sammie, played soccer. Her middle school needed her so they could have enough kids to make a team. Reluctantly, we let her play. I say reluctantly because Sammie had never played soccer, she could barely run a mile nevertheless run for an hour and a half, and our sport’s schedule was already full. But Sammie loved the girls on the team and I was excited to be a soccer mom.
During the first game, our team looked amazing. They dominated the field and owned the ball. Our soccer parents were also amazing. I think all of them were cheering, yelling “good try” to both teams when they tried for a shot, and seemed to keep middle school soccer in the right perspective. Our team won and even Sammie somehow scored a goal.
Every game our team played was exciting.
The best part about every game was when the coach sat the team down at the end and told each and every player what they did right. He would say;
Emily, I loved the way you were aggressive when you and the other player were fighting for the ball.
Kendall, Thank you for being able to play any position we ask you to. You make the coaching relaxed, because we know we can count on you.
Sammie, You are getting better every game and we are excited and thankful you are on the team.
From the moment we started this team, we felt accepted and valued, and it helped us fall in love with the sport of soccer. The team won every game and they only allowed one goal the entire season. They made the Championship Game and were favorited to win.
They walked into the Championship game with confidence and pride. They knew they were good and they had proved it game after game. Sammie had a prior commitment with cheerleading and missed the Big Game. We were sad, but not worried. The other girls on the team were beasts. They could do moves with the soccer ball that I had only seen in the MLS. We thought about the team all night and after we got home from cheer, we were surprised to find out our team lost.
I was perplexed. What had happened? This team dominated every game the entire year. They weren’t too confident, they were prepared, they were focused, the coach directed the on soccer and never scores, he was positive and encouraging, and the girls had skills. So what happened?
Sports, that’s what happened. In sports, every day is a new day. Every game is a new game, and anything can happen. Noting in sports is guaranteed, even if every single game in the past was won, winning is never a sure thing. The girls were devastated. The parents were shocked. The coach was numb. The athletic director of the school,Bob, put everything in perspective.
The day after the loss, Bob wrote the parents this letter:
Just wanted to again Thank you all for allowing your daughters to play soccer this year. I know we had several girls who never played and had other commitments. But they still came out, played their hardest, and had a terrific season. They are just a special group of young ladies and that is a testament to how you, as parents, have raised your children. Thank you.
I know we didn’t finish with a championship last night, but when you look back and put things into perspective, it’s just a game. The girls rallied around many things this season, and proved they are resilient; from the coaches, to the injuries and illnesses, all the way to dealing with the loss of Avery (Avery was a classmate who passed away).
I have to tell a story that will hopefully help put it all in perspective.
Scott Marrow was a friend of ours who has 3 children. Kendall went to preschool with his youngest daughter (Kaylee) and played soccer with her just over a year ago. Scott passed away 2 months ago walking out to pick up his newspaper. He was 52. Kaylee found him in the driveway. Kendall was crying last night after the game, until she saw Kaylee, who came to the game to cheer for ACA, and her friend. Once Kendall saw Kaylee and hugged her, she knew it was just a game. Losing a game is not a Loss. What Kaylee and what Avery’s families are going through is a Loss.
I just felt I needed to tell you guys that. I am so proud of these girls and how they handle themselves.
Congratulations on a terrific season.
Thank you for all that you do for ACA.
Bob Anderson | PE/Athletic Director
And just like that, the loss was no longer a loss. It was just a game. A game that brought a group of girls together to play soccer, build friendships, and make memories. Memories of a wonderful year and memories of a wonderful sporting experience.