Sunday, May 23, 2010

and sometimes....you WIN!!

Team getting ready...they are the "Dreaded Red"...and supportive sister Stella walks the sidelines thinking, "here we are again".

Boyfriends watch from the side lines. (one in the middle with the orange backpack is Maddy's...you know..."friend")

My little number 11 (always number 11) playing her heart out.

Maddy assists, Megan scores a beautiful goal, and they celebrate!

Their championship moment.



This weekend was full of soccer. Semi Final game on Saturday and the Championship on Sunday.

Last year, Maddy's team made it to the championship...and lost. It was their only loss all last season. Kids were pretty heartbroken. Maddy had to play in last season's championship game after having a bout with Pneumonia and losing 8 pounds. She put a lot of pressure on herself and really felt that some of her mistakes caused their loss.

Man...the lessons that come while playing sports! We've had many talks about sportsmanship and having fun and lessons that can be learned from losing. We've talked about the power of the team and how one player can't make or break a game. But here's the thing...her coach puts a lot of pressure on her sometimes. He pulled her aside last year and basically told her to do whatever she had to to score. Now usually her coach isn't like that...he's taught her so much and has been really great most of the time...but I think the heat of fierce competition of a championship game got to him. And he put a whole lot of pressure on my little 11 year old.

This year, Maddy's attitude has been great. The team has grown a LOT together and Maddy no longer has to be the lone scorer. While last year she scored an average of 3 goals a game...this year she had games when she didn't score at all. AND she was FINE with that after the first couple of games. She knew in her heart that she was playing well, had really gotten better, faster and stronger along with all of her other teammates. I think she felt a calm sense of relief, to tell you the truth, and she was able to really have fun playing soccer.

SO yesterday we won our semi final game. And then today, for the championship, we had to face the same team we lost to last year. We were also going into the game having lost to them once already this year. The girls were so happy and pumped up. They went into the game thinking..."hey I would love to win, but this team is really good, so let's play our best and see what happens..."
BUT lo and behold, the coach wanting to win desperately because it was his last season to coach, pulled Maddy aside again. Gave her the "hog the ball if you have to just score" speech.

Maddy is 12 now. A full year older and wiser. She listened respectfully and then got out on the field and played ball the best she could. She passed, she assisted, she scored once, and we tied the game. Had to play two over times. Each team had to take 5 penalty shots. Maddy was 5th up and could have won the game because the other team had gone first and missed. Maddy didn't make her penalty shot. GASPS rang out on our side and cheers on the other. Maddy cried..tried really hard not to....but I saw her wiping tears. My heart hurt. Now it was time for "sudden death" shots. First team to get one extra shot...wins the game. Other team sent their player up first. She missed. Maddy's best friend Bella, who has never made a penalty shot before, was up next. SHE MADE IT. WE WON THE GAME!!!!!!!! WE all screamed. We were so happy. And then Maddy's coach said to her, "Thank goodness Bella saved your butt."

EX FREAKING CUSE ME. Bella saved HER butt?? Was he saying that it would have been her fault if Bella had missed and we had lost??? How exactly did Bella save Maddy's butt?? What about helping the whole team win?? He did remember that two other girls besides Maddy missed their shots too...right?? Does he have a clue what a comment like that could do to a 12 year old girl??? I'm so glad I didn't hear him say that or I would have said something in anger, embarrassed myself, and I may have even upset Maddy. Luckily coach's wife heard and set him straight REAL quick and he apologized a few minutes later. I guess competition can do really strange things to people. (I should know...I screamed and yelled like a middle school cheerleader the whole game. But I didn't say ANYTHING negative. Promise.)

So when Maddy should have been lost in a glorious moment of screams and squeals...she was starting to crumble and beat herself up. She had a really uncomfortable look during most of the celebratory chaos. I was terrified she would let what he said get to her and fall into a bad mood...sad, upset, even angry at us...for you know...not fixing it for her...or saving her from her coaches words...or something like that. I wouldn't have blamed her.

BUT do you know what she said as we discussed the game? She said, "I'm really happy Bella got that shot. I'm disappointed that I missed mine, but I'm really glad Bella got the winning goal. Did you see how happy her Dad was?? I think he cried." She was happy and she really was happy for Bella.
We were all so relieved. We all laughed. We talked about some of the team's great moments. And she has been happy ever since.

I'm not always sure how I feel about team sports. In most ways, I think it's soo good for Maddy. She is so athletic and it gives her an outlet she desperately needs. Other times, I feel sad and stressed about the competitive pressure. And I know that with age...it's only gonna get worse. Oh well. Season is over!! Time for a break.

Sometimes you win...sometimes you lose. But today, they played their sweaty little hearts out...and they won. And it definitely feels good to win sometimes.

1 comment:

Kamana said...

great action photos!