Saturday, June 21, 2014

Soccer Finals

This year my team made it to the finals for soccer. I had a great time playing soccer. Suddenly discovering that today was the last day of soccer and that we had a chance in the finals. After playing two more games that day, we found out we where in the finals, at which there was a short celebration, and that we would be facing a team that was unbeaten (like us). All of us were excited and all of us thought we would win. We did a little "last minute practicing" and we were sent out to do what we were good at.

At the beginning we were doing well. Our offense was frequently taking shots, and by the intermission (formally called water-break) the other team still hadn't made it into the "red zone", and we were up 1-0. We heard the other teams coach yelling that his team was playing too light defense and that they could knock us down. Then our coach did the craziest thing ever. He actually gave the players positions they were good at not just a random "everyone tries everything" attitude.

With the fiercest line-up we had, we got into the other teams red zone dozens of times. This is the part that gets me angry. We never scored. The defense was knocking down our offense like this was football. There was not once when we had an opportunity to shoot. So as you read this your probably thinking "well how come you missed all the penalty shots". We never got any. Mike, the first striker, was crying. Timmy, who was known for routinely pulling two hat tricks in one game, had been shoved head over heels and had a sprained ankle, a bruise on his head, and withering confidence. As a defensive player, I can tell you first hand that when someone steps one your toe, kicks you in the shin and charges you, the last thing your thinking about is defense. Mexico, the unstoppable team in the finals that had beaten all competition by at least five points, lost 3-1.

We were devastated. Normally that means "destroy or ruin", In this case I mean "cause overwhelming grief". I found out that the coach had told his team that they should literally knock us down. I also found out that the referee, who was calling penalties on us, for miss-throwing the ball in out of bounds free throws and who somehow didn't find it relevant that our team was being physically attacked, was a close friend of the other coach. Our team lined-up after lots of persuasion to congratulate the winners. I blinked back tears of sadness, as I watched friends sob in pain. I didn't congratulate anyone, but I told the coach that he was lucky to have such a great team. I was speaking the truth. By the kids that were there (including the other team) we were recognized as the winners. I hope that coach saw us. I hope he heard his own team admitting he was yelling at them to cheat. I hope he has nightmares concerning the Mexico, the unstoppable team that stayed strong through the entire season.