Friday, April 6, 2012


Sweet, Sweet, Victory! 

Sam and I play on an intramural soccer team. We had a game last night. And as I'm sure you may have surmised based on the title of this blog post, we WON! 

There were many things about this game though, that made this victory so sweet.

First of all, let me give you the demographics of our team. My team consists of four girls and six boys. Only two of those ten team members played soccer in high school. None of our girls even knew the rules of the game. Three of our girls wear tennis shoes, not cleats. (You can tell a team might be better than you if all their girls wear cleats...) Regardless of all of these facts that would seemingly hold us back from victory, we did not give up.

Our season stats might also shed some light on why this win was so celebrated. Our record during the regular season was 0-4-1. That means we won ZERO games, we lost FOUR games, and we tied ONE game. That's pretty bad. We were ranked 3rd from last out of all the 170-something teams that signed up. Needless to say, we aren't used to winning. That is, until the tournament began.

Something just fell into place for us during the tournament. On a very small unimportant note, we were placed in the lowest tournament division... But there were still 40-something teams that we had to be better than if we wanted to win. Regardless of our poor record, our team bonded together and began to play the best soccer of our lives. Well, it was the best soccer of my life, but that's not really saying much since I was probably about ten years old the last time I played in a real soccer game with referees and all that jazz.

We won the first three games of the tournament, placing us into the Elite 8. Then came our match up with Team 24, the very victory I wish to tell you about.  We arrived a bit early to warm-up, and our competition looked tough. They were few in numbers, but intimidating nonetheless. We scored the first goal of the game, putting us ahead 1-0 and boosting our confidence. We went back and forth until the score was tied 3-3 in the last few minutes of the game. The buzzer went off, and we knew that the game was about to get more intense in an overtime showdown.

Let me paint a picture for you. We took the field, more determined than ever before. I had the assignment of hanging out by the goal, in ready position to shoot if the ball came near me. That usually gives us the best shooting opportunities, though my and the other girls' inability to always make a clean connection with the ball keeps us from scoring ten goals a game. We started with the ball and lost possession fairly quick. Our opponents lost possession just as quick and the ball was suddenly coming back towards my end of the field. TC was dribbling effortlessly down field, passing any defender that tried to give him trouble, with such finesse! I was open and before I could think the ball was coming toward me. A perfect pass rolling on the grass at just the right speed and angle. I trapped it near the left post, turned, dribbled, swung and made a solid connection with the ball, sending it soaring into the right corner of the goal. I felt as though time had stopped and everything was in slow motion. There was nothing I could do but watch as the ball rolled, barely our of reach of the goalie's grasp.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL! The goal was good and I had just won the game for us. My teammates were surrounding me and my heart was beating out of control. I felt such elation, such euphoria, such exhilaration! Such a feeling of triumph overcame me that I had never experienced before. I submit that scoring a goal in soccer, especially a sudden death, overtime, tournament game-winning goal, is the best feeling that can be sensed in any sport.

So there you have it. Team Jeru Crew is on to the final four. Thank you intramural soccer and especially Team 24 for giving me something to blog about. Our next game is on Saturday, and we're going to bring it!

I felt like Mia Hamm.