I miss soccer. It’s been a part of me ever since I was a little girl, and I’m still getting used to life without it. Somewhere along the way it became a true passion. Every year, as the leaves turned bright autumn colors and the air became crisp and clean, I tied up the laces of my cleats and prepared for yet another memorable season. Each one was better than the next, whether or not we finished with an impressive record. Being on a team is an experience one wouldn’t understand unless they've lived through it, something that simply can’t be replaced. Now that my years of being a soccer player have come to an end, I truly see why every single student out there should join a sports team.
Team Spirit: A Force Not to Be Reckoned With
I may not have realized at first, but by the end of my career I knew that it’s just as important to be on the bench as on the field. The players sitting on the bench are the heart and soul of a soccer game. The chants they scream at the top of their lungs, and the energy they bring to each match changes the entire mood and increases excitement. Team spirit is something I truly cherished over my 14 years of playing soccer. The idea of always cheering on your teammates, and providing positive encouragement is a concept I will have for the rest of my life, one that goes far beyond the playing field.
The Importance of Sportsmanship
For as long as I can remember, coaches have stressed the importance of a fair game. Sportsmanship, they said, tells more about a player’s abilities then their skills ever will. Throughout the years, there have been teams that just don’t understand this concept. Pushing girls to the ground, yelling at the ref’s calls, and talking dirty to other players have unfortunately been common behaviors in many of the games I’ve played in. The way my team handled situations with lack of sportsmanship made me proud. Keeping our heads held high always, we refused to let other player’s nasty attitudes get in the way of our game. It was a challenge we never let affect us.
It’s not always about the sport.
When people ask me what my favorite part of playing soccer was, my answer never included dribbling a ball down the field. I lived for my teammates. The way players work together on and off the field creates a special kind of bond that you just don’t get otherwise. The sport introduced me to girls of all ages, ones I may have never had the privileged of meeting without it. It’s not just the practices and games that made us all so close. Some of my favorite moments of the season included the frequent ice cream trips, team dinners, bonding events, and hang outs that created the long lasting friendships I still have today.
How to be A Positive Leader.
As a high school senior, I was rewarded the honor of being the captain of my team. Some people would take on this role with a level of intimidation and superiority, but that wasn’t my style. The way my teammates looked up to me before every game, counting on me to inflict a level of excitement and determination, still gives me the chills to this day. I learned how to give advice without being bossy, lift a team’s spirits after a heart-crushing loss, and most importantly, treat everyone with equal respect no matter who they are. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
To Never Give Up.
Above all else, I learned that the game isn’t over until the last whistle is blown. Half the battle is never giving up, no matter what the scoreboard may project. When it's double overtime and everyone is exhausted, adversity is tested. The players who dig deep to find that last burst of energy and strength are the ones I admire. Be that player on your team. Be on a team. I promise, you won't regret it.