This is the last soccer post I will have for a little while. The season is over as is tournament weekend. In a previous post I mentioned that we were one weekend away from a chance at an undefeated year, for all three of the girls. That weekend came and went and the girls remained undefeated. It was a fun season. Tournaments can be different.
Tournaments tend to be a place for the best teams to
showcase their skills. It is a place
where an undefeated local team can get their doors kicked in on a bigger
stage. A place where dreams of grandeur
meet the nightmare of reality.
My wife and I are well versed in this. In years past, Macy, my middle daughter
played for a team that was the deliverer of reality to unsuspecting teams. My eldest, Avery, has always been the recipient.
Macy has a shelf full of trophies and medals from
tournaments. These are not participation
awards. They are bonafide articles of
Avery has always looked longingly at that shelf.
Poor sweet Avery. Her
teams, in the half decade she’s been going to tournaments, has won just one
single game. Just one. I loved her attitude, but the odds were
stacked in the nightmare’s favor.
My wife was out of town running a trail race in Moab (a
story for another post) so I knew it was going to be me to wipe the weekends
tears. The first game was against a team
that they had beat during the season. We had a feeling that they would win
their first game, but it would get dodgy after that.
We were right. On the
first day of the tourney, they won their first game, 3-0 and Avery played well
and had a goal. The second game that day
was tougher. It took a late goal to earn
a tie. The girls looked a little out of
their depth. They may have been a little
Avery was a bag of nerves that night. She had hurt her foot and was concerned about
her ability to play at the level she wanted to. We stayed in a hotel with the
team and being surrounded by her friends on the team was a pressure relief
valve for her but her “taking a medal home no matter what” proclamation had
lost its luster a bit. There was some positive math for the team. If they won their next game they would make
the championship game, and more importantly, if they make the championship game
they get a medal, it may be silver, but it’s a medal none the less.
Avery was nervous when she woke up. We went down to breakfast and Avery sat quietly
eating a bit distracted. We talked but
she was absent. She got dressed and we
made our way to the field.
I saw something I don’t see in Avery very often.
I watched her settle herself. Her face went from “all nerves” to “business”. The game wasn’t five minutes old when Avery
scored. I may be a little biased, or
completely so, but I believe that the early goal set the tone for the
game. The team won 7-0. The girls played great. They
were in the championship. Avery would
get her medal.
Her smile was ear to ear, as was the rest of the team’s. There was no clear MVP. Everyone had played hard. Everyone contributed. They had exceeded their own
expectations. It was great.
The lesson here, ladies?
First of all, set your own boundaries.
If I were honest, I didn’t think you guys would bring home a medal. Thank goodness you didn’t think the way I did. Secondly, and most importantly, its about
rising to the moment. There are moments
in your life that you either sink or you swim.
Moments that you will remember for the rest of your life, with joy when your succeed or with regret if you crumble a bit. It makes me proud that you made your
declaration and then backed it up. I’m
proud of you, regardless. In that I am
totally biased, but last weekend, you put an exclamation point on it. You played well, you were unselfish and you
were a leader. I would have been proud
if you didn’t win a game last weekend.
But you did win a game last weekend. A bunch of ‘em. So, congratulations, sweetheart. You’ve got your medal. I hope the achievement outshines that little
piece of metal. Probably won’t bet here’s