I love soccer, but I coach for the relationships. The spring season brings longer days, warm weather (eventually), and more chances to bring the team together. That typically means 3-4 times per week for “fun and friendship” on the pitch. I think this is what heaven will be like for me.
But the springtime changes when your team enters high school. Most of the girls get a chance to play for their schools and they dive into that with everything they have. And that means their priorities have to shift, rightfully. They get to practice five days a week—which is awesome—but other things in their life have to get moved out to make room for that intensity.
So what role does their Avalanche team have for them? Well, it’s simply their home. Some will have good experiences on their new teams and some will have less than good experiences. But all know that they have a place they can go to that will be consistent and free and safe. Avalanche soccer is good, yes, but the bonds they share are even better.
The other day, I watched Heritage (Jenny and Hailey) play against Stone Bridge (Allyson). Allyson scored the only and winning goal in a 1-0 match. Both of the Heritage girls said, though, that if they had to lose they were glad it was to their Avalanche teammate. After the match they all hugged each other with no thoughts of winning or losing, just one of friendship. Ashley, who did not make her high school team, was there, too, and she was equally happy for her teammates and friends.
I believe that the thirteen other girls in light blue would have acted exactly the same way because the Avalanche has an important place in their hearts and will, forever. You can’t see it; you can’t touch it. But you know it’s there.