The last match of the season was this weekend. It started out a beautiful fall day but as the game progressed the wind picked up and the clouds filtered in. We ended the season with a loss in our final MAPL game and a record of 7-8-1. On paper not the best season but certainly not the worst. Paper does not always give you the whole story. How good were we? Well let’s put it in perspective. Mercersburg Academy beat Washington High School 2-0. Washington, a public school in West Virginia ended their season yesterday as well. They ended their season by losing in the State Final Championship match against one of the best teams West Virginia has ever seen. We are an excellent team but that is not what made this team and these girls special. They are just a sweet bunch of young women, scholars and athletes. They are kind to each other under enormous pressure, they are tough as nails but you would never know by their quiet composer. Each game they stepped out on the field as a unit and ended the game as a unit.
I feel so lucky that I have had two teams, one in Virginia and the other here in Pennsylvania that I could say it truly doesn’t matter what our record was or is, that we had an amazing season. The season was gaged not upon the record but upon the success of creating a special environment where girls can compete and push themselves while enjoying each other thoroughly. They learned to trust, laugh, dedicate themselves completely to a goal and care about something deeply even if it is just kicking a ball around in the grass. Honestly, they played some of the best soccer I have seen and I am so proud.
I had the opportunity to say goodbye until next time to each of them. I gave them each a blue carnation as it is the school color but it also represents peace. They showed that they can play hard and compete at a high level with integrity, with resilience and with peace in their hearts. I gave my seniors a white flower for their new beginnings that I will miss. I gave the other coaches blue and yellow flowers for the peace and joy they created for this beautiful team. I will miss them and I wish I could be there on campus to see them throughout the year. In Virginia, my players would visit me in study halls, they would smile and scream my name when I passed them in the hall, they came to me for advice or just to chat. My seniors came back to visit and tell me of their lives in college. I will miss that with this team. It will make it even more special when I get to see them next year.
For now, I will relish my time with my own daughters, LP and PP. I have missed them so much. I will enjoy the relaxed schedule and I will be thankful for the time I have to catch up. I look forward to spending more time on my art. I will make sure that every day I remember to do something silly and play. I will finally get the time to allow my body to heal and perhaps fix my foot, hip and whatever else that has gone awry. I will enjoy the time with my husband. He has been neglected throughout the fall but remained supportive of my pursuits. For my family, I am glad to see the season ending but for those special girls and our amazing experience, I will miss them deeply and look forward to next year.