Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Here's why I don't blog much during the fall...

Observe, please, this year’s standings for soccer.

Give my crew some love! They deserve the bragging rights that come from being top of the pile. It was no small achievement. They finished first in what was a very tight group of teams this year. None of the eight games we played were runaways, and every single member of the team had their work cut out for them this year.

We play in our semi-final game today vs. Valley View. Valley View upset us last year to reach the finals, and we split our series with them during this regular season. They are not a team we will get past easily. It will be a challenging game, and everyone is working hard to see we win it to advance to this year’s final game.

This is a bittersweet game for me, since it is my last of the year, whether we win or lose. If we win it and advance to the finals, I won’t be there to coach them. I’ll be in Charlotte, NC, speaking at a national convention (a gig that was set long before the league schedule was finalized). I have a colleague who has been working to take my place in that game, but I’m really bummed I won’t actually be there to see it.

I guess you’d have to know what’s going on out there to truly understand why it’s important to me. In August, I picked a team that I thought could work together and have serious fun, regardless of anyone’s age, sex or experience with the sport. They all came to tryouts and made the commitment to practice late, cut back on their dramatic commitments (many are in fall productions or are members of community dance troupes), do extra classwork and take care of each other, all so we could build a team together that was close like family, supportive and dedicated, whatever happens on the field. This group has really come together, but this is not unusual. I am proud of the fact that my teams bond the way they do. That they win consistently from year to year, even though we play several schools that are larger, better and stronger than we are is simply proof that our philosophy of the sport has value, and that the effort to create this kind of experience gets results. It is my hope that traditional schools will someday see this, and be brave enough to reinvent their programs to actually make the experience of competitive sport a nurturing and supportive one, instead of an outlet for anger, aggression and dishonor.

Our game today is the culmination of two months worth of time away from home, of running around picking up students, vans and equipment, of battling with administration to give my kids what they need, and of actually being on the field helping them to reach the end on top. That makes it sound like it’s about me, but it’s really not. They’ve shown that they respect what not just I, but lots of people, have done to provide them an opportunity to embark on a two-month journey of personal, emotional and physical growth. They’ve made good use of the sacrifices that were made for them. I am very proud of these kids! I want my crew to win today because I think they deserve it. More importantly, though, I want them to walk off the field at the end of the game believing they are awesome, not because they won, but because they walked the road to get there in style.

1 comment:

Kizz said...

Fingers crossed.