Day 20: Giving thanks for perseverance

Today, as the rain came down hard, I was standing on the sidelines at two different soccer games. Although my pink wellies did their job in keeping my feet dry, every other ounce of me got wet! The rain couldn’t keep me away from being at two very special soccer games today. Both Ian and Elyse played their last regular season games and both were battling for 2nd place in their leagues. Although second place always feels like the runner up, in this instance it was a pure victory. Even though both kids are very talented players (Ian in goal and Elyse as a striker), they have had very challenging seasons. Their coaches seem to like to hear the sounds of their own voices more than they actually have anything positive or productive to say to their players. I’m shocked at the amount of shouting and lack of coaching that actually goes on – especially at this highly competitive level.  It hasn’t always been easy to watch from the sidelines. The beginning of the season was rough for both kids and it looked like it was going to be a “rebuilding year” for both but little by little their teams dug themselves our of their own holes. If both kids won their games today,  they took second place. A huge accomplishment given where they started from and the emotional roller coaster this season has been. Ian and Elyse both played completely out of their minds today. Elyse had 6 of the 8 goals her team scored. It was like she was conducting a clinic. Shots fired in the back of the net with speed and accuracy beyond her 10 years. And then there was the flick with the right foot, ball on to her left foot and then she pushed the ball through for an unbelievable nutmeg! (For those who don’t play soccer, it means she kicked the ball through the defenders legs – it’s a huge ego lift for one player, complete demoralization for the other!) I couldn’t believe my eyes as she delivered the nutmeg with pure perfection. Go on my girl! She clearly had her stride today! Ian’s job is to save all of those shots and he too had an unbelievable game! He has really been tested this season by his coach. I don’t think it has been the perfect match but although there have been weeks when he wanted to turn his gloves in and end his soccer career forever, today he played like the talented goalie he is. There was a great confidence that has been absent for most of the season. He was punching balls out with ease, taking the ball off the striker’s foot with great courage and saving shots that came whizzing at his head. In the end his team won 4-0. Ian had a clean sheet. For as many balls as Elyse ripped into the net, Ian saved just as many in his game. I was unbelievably proud of both of them as they celebrated their victories today. I have watched them evolve not only as very good soccer players this season but also have watched as they have grown into a great maturity that adversity often teaches us. I am so grateful I was there to witness their great success today.

Ian's team celebrating their accomplishment!