Last night, while I was running on my treadmill during a snowstorm, I watched “Miracle” for the unknown-th time. It’s the story of the 1980 USA hockey team and their spectacular and unexpected Olympic gold medal. Their run to the podium included a, literally, miraculous victory over the then-unparalleled team from the Soviet Union.
I can’t help it. I cry every time I watch it. With all of the changes in the world since then I cannot help wondering if we will ever witness anything like that again. But then I remembered that I just did have a similar feeling.
On a much smaller scale, but also unexpectedly, my soccer girls won their first tournament championship.
Granted, the games were played in the middle of the night—when everyone should have been asleep. Granted, the competition was nowhere near the same level. Okay, sure, it’s not the really the same at all. In my heart, though, the joy was as good as it gets.
You see the girls had been close to winning before, but never quite made it over the hump. They have more “finalist” medals than they know what to do with, and they are proud of their second-place finishes. But it’s not the same—not nearly the same—as the feeling that champions get.
And, to tell you the truth, I wasn’t really even sure how much they cared. They are a pretty even-keeled bunch. They enjoy their sport, they are proud of their accomplishments, they don’t worry too much about losing, and they laugh a lot and have fun together. When the tournament began I told them that they were playing against older teams and that I would be happy as long as they never quit.
So, with no time remaining on the clock in the final—and after a last second penalty on one of our defenders—an opposing player lined up to take a penalty kick. That’s one-on-one with the goalkeeper for those of you who don’t know. If she makes it, we get second place. Again.
Our keeper, Kaitlyn, stood there nervous but ready and she blocked it. Championship! But, wait, the referee decided that something (I’m not sure what) had been done wrong—and a re-kick was awarded.
Kaitlyn blocked the second kick, too. And out of the team box raced her mates, jumping up and down, hugging each other, not letting go, screaming, laughing, celebrating.