So today is my last college soccer game. I have always loved soccer but it has also posed many challenges for me and it has pushed me to do things that I haven’t wanted to do. I have made some of my best friends through it. It has helped me to swallow my pride and cheer on my teammates. It has pushed me to work on skills by repeating and repeating.
I love the feeling of running down the sideline with the ball without anyone around me. I love the feeling of having my legs burn, knowing that I just gave every ounce of energy into a game. I love the moments with my team after we won and even after we lost.
I will not miss the injuries: the broken nose, broken teeth, knee surgery, and the countless sprained ankles and pulled muscles. That struggle when you want to play but your body would not let you. I had to learn how to contribute to my team in a different way. To push through the painful rehab and believe that I would come back stronger than ever.
Those birthday parties I missed, those school dances, those sleepovers. All the nights in college when I would tuck myself in at 10pm while I heard my friends getting ready to go out. Those countless times that I had to turn things down saying, “sorry, I have soccer”. As much as I have sacrificed for soccer, it has made me into the person I am today. It has showed me how to commit fully to something. To listen to others and to push my body when I thought I had nothing left. To somehow manage your time to finish your homework. To never be late or sprints will be waiting for you.
Thank you to my parents who drove me an hour each way to practice on those cold snowy nights. Who paid for me to fly across the country, who pushed me to keep challenging myself. Thank you to all of my coaches who stood out in the cold with us, believing in us. Thank you to my teammates who have cheered me on, lifted me up, becoming my best friends along the way.
Soccer has taught me how to be utterly disappointed after a game and how blaming is not the way to get over the loss. It has showed me that we are stronger than we think. It has showed me how to support others even if they are taking your spot on the field. To love each person you play with. It has taught me how the way you show up and fight for your teammates often matters more than the result. How you can make best friends while suffering together and celebrating together.
So many laughs and so many tears. So many lessons. Thank you for 18 amazing and challenging years and for making me the person I am today.
Thank you soccer.