Thursday, February 24, 2011

Memory Box #1 - Soccer

I must say, one of the things I miss most about high school is soccer.

To bypass a lot of story telling and to get to the point proceed to the ***.

I first joined out schools soccer team in Grade 11. I missed the teams relatively successful indoor campaign but tried out for the team in the spring. As there was not a whole bunch of people trying for the team I made it on. I did my best to be involved with the team, I attended meetings and went to every practice, I had caught this soccer bug I guess. I didn't say much in my first year but rather tried to be a back seat encourager as I knew soccer was not my strongest point and that the majority of the people on the team had much more talent than I did. As the season progressed we had not lost a game. We were walking all over the opposition in every game. In fact, in our semi finals we played our rival school. We destroyed them by 7 goals, yeah, that felt good. In the final we played a nail biter against the other power house in the league. We ended up winning 3-2 on 3 awarded penalty kicks, it was insane. We won our division! Brought home a good ol' banner.

From there we went on to provincials as the 8th seed team. Our first game was against the 1st place team... Fearing a blowout we braced for the worst. At half time we were stunned that we had not yet conceded a goal and the game was still tied... As the game progressed each team had their chances but their were no goals. We were playing a team in a division higher than us and were not losing. Overtime solved nothing and the game went into penalty kicks... We lost... Tragic. We played hard in our second game but lost and finished the year ranked 8th in the province.

During the summer I had busted my butt playing soccer everyday. I had befriended a near soccer prodigy named Jordan who comes from the Southern States. The kid was around 10 years old at max and we played soccer every day and every night, it was awesome. The kid is talented and has a heart of gold, it was awesome just playing with him all summer, he definitely taught me some things.

After summer was over I went back to tryouts for our indoor team in the fall. I was pretty sure I was going to make the team but not certain. Sure enough, I made it. We had a very successful indoor campaign and finished 3rd in the league. We started practicing for outdoor while the snow was still on the ground. We trained so hard to have a good team, there were fears that we would not be able to live up to the precedent that was set the year before. Our first game resulted in a tie against our rivals and our second game was a loss against a school we really should not have lost to... 2 games into the season and our playoff hopes seemed dashed as we only had a 5 game season. After this horrid start to the season we headed off to Kenora for a tournament. I tell ya, I have never been so pushed in my life. We played 4 games in less than 48 hours, we battled fatigue and all sorts of injuries in these games. We came out of the tournament as 5th place, winning 2 games and losing 2. This tournament was a turning point for our team, after these games we went back and in our next 3 regular season games we had outscored our opponents 18-1 (or something crazy like that.) We tore it up. Nothing could stop us. After our last regular season game we did some math and realized we made playoffs! We won our semi final game handily and moved onto our final.

In this game we played our toughest competition yet, it was also the team that we beat the year before and they were looking for some serious revenge. Despite a series of personal hardships that I was facing at the time, I played what my coach called "the game of my life." It was the best feeling, just destroying this team by a score of 6-1. After this second Championship we were off to provincials.

In our first game we were beat by the eventual provincial champs 4-0. It was a stinger. In our next game, team moral was down and we seemed to call it quits before the game had began. But, we ended up winning that game by the skin of our teeth. Taking it to the second place team in the province. The game was nail biting to the very end. When the final whistle blew I remember yelling a shout of joy then collapsing our of fatigue. What a game... We lost the consolation final but ended up finishing 6th in the province. An improvement from the year before.


Over all my time playing soccer I learnt some very important things. I learnt about team work and humility. I also learnt how to coach a team, as no one in high school had such an impact on me as my coach did. Props to you Ms. Barkowski. Coach had made us a book of pictures throughout our soccer career and gave it to us near graduation. This book sits in my memory box and makes me smile when I flip through it. My favourite picture is me with a stern look on my face gazing directly into Coach's eyes as she has an even more stern look and she is explaining something to me. I loved high school soccer, and I miss it so much, now I open my memory box every so often to relive those experiences.

That is Memory Box #1 - Stay tuned for more.

Shine your light.

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