Friday, January 23, 2009
As some of you may know, last April my daughter Jillian tried out for the "Arsenal" soccer team here in Benicia. I remember how nervous she was for the tryouts--she was even contemplating what to wear. She was pretty convinced that she had not done well at the tryouts and made sure her hopes were not too high. When she got the call from her coach, Brian Chase, telling her she had made the U14 Class 3 team, she was ecstatic. I think she might have damaged his hearing with her joyful scream. They almost immediately began training and conditioning. At first, they were not so good. They were a newly formed and were still getting used to eachother's habits, abilities, things that just come with time. Their coaches made sure that every lost game was not a lost game, but a learning experience. I think this approach greatly helped the girls understand what they had to do to improve. As the season went on, something began to change in the girls. They basically began to understand how to work together and get those goals. They achieved their first win at a tournament in Sacramento. From then on, they won almost every game. One of the team's greatest games was one at the Benicia tournament. It was the first half and they were down by two. In the first 5 minutes of the second half, they had three goals. All of the parents including myself were beaming with pride. This Arsenal process has been extremely rigorous; for most of the season they had 3 practices a week, a game on Saturday, and occasionnaly a Sunday game or Indoor soccer game. I had officially earned the nickname "taxi". After a plethora of blood, sweat, tears, and stinky shinguards, the season was over. Ha! Not for these girls! They had won their League and qualified for Association Cup and planned to go in January. They practiced and scrimmaged right up until a couple weekends ago. We went to a freezing Association cup, and dissapointingly lost all the games. I was surprised to find that the girls had an amazingly positive attitude. Jill told me one day that all she cared about was the wonderful friends she acquired, and the experiences she had with them that she will cherish forever. Now, in a few weeks, I will be driving that same nervous girl to tryouts. This time, though, she will know what to wear :).