"We have more reasons to love each other based on our common humanity than to victimize one another because of any difference."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why Soccer Brings Me Joy

I remember the first time I ever made the all star team. I was in fifth grade. We were in the finals and the game was tied zero-zero. It went into a shootout. The winner got to move on and travel to Irvine to continue playing. My mom was so nervous she kept leaving the field to go to the bathroom thinking that would bring us good luck. We won the game and I went to my first ever away tournament.

We stayed at the Embassy Suites Hotel. They had four glass elevators facing each other and my teammates and I had elevator races and one of the funnest weekends my little fifth grade self remembers. We got annihilated in every game but it didn't matter at all. On the way home from that tournament I remember my dad turning to me and saying, "Caitlin, really enjoy this because you may never have another chance to do something like this. This was really a special experience that doesn't come along very often"

The next year I switched from recreational soccer to Club. We won every game minus one in the season and came in first place.

From there the sky was the limit. I spent every waking moment playing soccer. My family traveled to every game. We became very familiar with Bakersfield, Landcaster, San Bernadino, Las Vegas...between my brother and I my parents' social life revolved around soccer tournaments, team dinners, practices.

There are certain games in particular that I will never forget..or more like moments. I'll always remember the final of the Celtic Cup. After three games that day and the final going into double overtime our keeper stopped three of the five PKs shots made on her. Which, is unheard of. We won the tournament and I was too exhausted to walk off the field. I skipped the first day of my senior year of high school because of that game.

This weekend I had another one of those unforgettable moments. It wasn't a particularly insane game but it touched a heart string and really reinforced in myself all the reasons why I find soccer so wonderful.

We played Moravian, a nasty dirty team that I just really generally despise. After coming out slow in the first ten minutes Katie Keating receives a pass up top and holds the ball at her feet. I knew she was going to look to find me. We have this mind connection that forwards sometimes develop with each other. The last person who knew me that well was on my club team in high school. It's an awesome feeling when you know how your teammate thinks and where you need to be without even a seconds thought.

I started sprinting.

She lays me a beautiful perfect ball, right where I knew she would. I cut the ball across my body and with two Moravian girls on my heels I tucked it away near post. The perfect goal. Juniata up 1-0.

But, it was the rush that came with the goal that really made the moment unforgettable. I threw up arm up in the air and took off sprinting down the sideline screaming. The crowd, all 200+ of them jumped up and I can't describe the energy I felt from the moment. Katie ninja jump hugged me and even now writing it gives me goosebumps.