From A Girl Who Isn't Ready To Hang Up Her Cleats

From A Girl Who Isn't Ready To Hang Up Her Cleats

To the playing field, I will forever miss you.
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The thing that I have been dreading the most for months has now come to the forefront. I am not ready, but I have no choice. Back on September 4, 2016, I received a major concussion from a car accident. I should have died and I have so much to be thankful for. As the months have gone by my body has healed and the scars now remain; permanent marks that will remind me of the pain that I have suffered and the strength it took to overcome it all. I am now stuck at the crossroads with so many options that I could choose, but really only one choice is illuminated at this point.

My journey with soccer began as a little four-year-old with big dreams. I have loved soccer since the very first moment I touched a ball. I ran around, like every child does, playing a sport I could barely understand. Eventually, I played club for my town and I was on the Varsity team for my high school, I made lots of friends and memories. Even though there were good and bad times they have had a great impact on my life. Soccer has saved my life in so many ways.

My sophomore year of High school I received a varsity jacket and I wore it proudly. I would watch the U.S. Women's National Team anytime I could find it online and I went to as many games as I could when they played near me. During the summers I go to the Sky Blue games, the NWSL team for New Jersey. I used to practice for hours on my technique and work as hard as I could to stay in shape. I helped coach, I was a referee starting at age 12, I was a player, and I was a trainer. The only part that remains is a girl who loves soccer, but isn't allowed to play.

When I was told by several people that I was never going to play again, I tried to hold back the tears. Soccer has been so much a part of my life and one of the ways I could clear my mind and just enjoy myself. I sat there and just shook my head, I refused to believe them; I still refuse to believe them. I wanted it to be my decision and I wasn't allowed to make it. For weeks I have been walking around in this false reality that come August I will be moving in early for one last pre-season.

I cannot tell you what I will do now, I cannot tell you if I will ever be able to play a competitive contact sport ever again. There is so much I still do not know about what my life will look like. I may have daily headaches and sensitivity to light for the rest of my life. Do I enjoy wearing sunglasses each time I am outside, or even sometimes when I am inside, no, I do look like a crazy person. Will I give up? No, I will continue to work hard each and every day to push through the limitations I have been given. Soccer will still be so much a part of my life and I wish that I could finish off my senior year playing with my team one last time. But I cannot. I wish my teammates the best, but now I must retire much too early. I am not ready to say goodbye, but I must.

To my new cleats that never saw game time, I am sorry.

To my teammates that I leave behind, I will remember you.

To the playing field, I will forever miss you.

To my head, I will fix you.

To my coaches, I thank you for everything you’ve done.

To my family, I hope that you enjoyed the times you go to see me play.

To myself, you will survive.

To the game of soccer, I must say goodbye.

Cover Image Credit: Kelsey Hoffman

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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13 Gifts That Any Sports Fanatic Is Sure To Love

These gifts are sure to be a hole in one.

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Check out these 13 gifts that any sports lover in your life will absolutely love this holiday season.

1. NFL Barware Crate

This NFL Barware Crate from Man Crates is ideal for any football fan. It includes pint glasses with any NFL team's logo, bottle openers and a mix of bar nuts. The perfect mix of gifts for the perfect football Sunday.

2. NBA ugly Christmas sweater

If your sports fan is a fan of the NBA like me, they would LOVE this NBA ugly Christmas sweater. It's festive and shows off who you're rooting for this basketball season.

3. Knitted beer mitt

I'm from Wisconsin so, obviously, I'm a Green Bay Packers fan. Most of our football season is played in the winter, and Lambeau Field's nickname is "the frozen tundra," but that doesn't stop us fans from going to Green Bay and supporting our green and gold. And what's a football game without beer? This knitted beer mitt is ideal for any football fan that cheers their team out in the cold.

4. Golf mug

For the golf fan who is also a fan of coffee. With this coffee mug, you also get a mini golf ball and a putter that is actually a pen. During some downtime in the office, start a round of golf.

5. The Sports Bucket List book

This sports bucket list book written by Rob Fleder and Steven Hoffman is a great gift for a sports fan who likes to travel. The book includes 101 different and memorable places, games and matches around the world. Gift this book to your sports lover and help them complete their brand new bucket list!

6. MLB game used uniform wallet

This wallet is definitely something a baseball fan would cherish for a long time. This wallet includes interior dividers that are made from game-used MLB jerseys. You can choose from seven MLB teams.

7. Funny sports socks

One of the most practical ways to tell someone you're busy watching football. These socks are not only cozy but sport the, "Shhh, I'm watching football" saying to let everyone know that you shouldn't be bothered while your feet are up.

8. Vineyard Vines college shirt

Vineyard Vines is a brand that is known to be worn around college campuses. If your sports fan is currently enrolled at a university and loves supporting his colors, this shirt is the perfect fit for him this football season.

9. Unique cuff links

If your man is strictly business but loves strutting off the love for his NFL team, these subtle but super unique cufflinks are best gift he'll receive yet. They are not only classy, but the color inside is actually a piece from an NFL stadium seat!

10. Game used hockey puck bottle opener

For the hockey fanatic that also is a fanatic for brews. These hockey puck bottle openers are not only cool (hockey pun intended) but were once played as game pucks for an NHL game.

11. Sports mug with backboard 

This mug is fun for all ages and comes in other sports like football, basketball and more. For once you won't get yelled at for playing with your food.

12. Their favorite player's jersey

Every sports fanatic has a favorite player. A jersey is one of the easiest but one of the best gifts you can get someone. If they have one already, get them one from a different era or a different color!

13. Tickets to a sporting event

Another easy but perfect gift for a sports fan. Get them tickets to their favorite sporting event. Give them an experience they will never forget.

Please note that all items are in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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