Some of you may remember my second son’s soccer team won the state championship for their division last fall (and in very exciting fashion). As the state champions, they earned the privilege to represent our state in the regional tournament against champions from 11 other states. We played last weekend and I have to be honest: I wasn’t sure how competitive we’d be. I knew we were a good team, by our state’s standards, but hello, our first game was against the Florida team from Miami. I’m not certain, but I’ve been told the population of Miami alone is greater than the entire population of my whole state. Anyway, not only did we hold our own, we tied the Miami team 1-1, my son scoring the tying goal with what his coach described as one of the prettiest goals he’s ever seen as a coach (proud mama moment to be sure). In fact, our coach wrote about the game here, describing the thrill of the equalizer that showed us a competitive force.
We went on to tie with Georgia and found ourselves in a must-win game against Oklahoma, a team Miami had beat 2-0. In order to advance, we needed to win 2-0 as well and we needed Miami to tie with Georgia. Crazily enough, that is exactly what happened and thus tied with the Miami team, penalty kicks then determined who would advance to the semi-finals. Nine kicks later, the Floridians advanced and ultimately went on to beat a team from Houston to win the whole tournament and earn a berth at nationals.
It could have been us, our boys, going all the way. We had obviously shown ourselves equal to whomever we were playing, a feat to be enormously proud of, no doubt about it. I find it interesting that the final game was comprised of opponents from two of our nation’s largest cities: Miami and Houston. What if it had been us, a team of boys from various small towns scattered across northeast Alabama? A Cinderella story to be sure! Maybe next year!
I am proud of the team, for their hard work and persistence, their determination and their desire to play. My boy is already looking toward next season! It’s exciting to win, yes, but it’s also exciting to see the kind of teamwork and discipline they are learning by playing the game they love.