Soccer as a sport in some ways is no different from other team sports. A group of individuals works together for a common goal against another group of individuals working for that same goal. At the end of the contest, one team wins, and one does not.
Okay, in soccer, sometimes there are ties, but you get my drift. As team sports go, nothing is really unexpected.
Soccer itself, though, offers something different.
Its nickname around the world is the “beautiful game”. Soccer is known worldwide as the most popular sport, and it is not even close. Sometimes, this gets skewed here in the United States, but even here, soccer is growing. It is not like the other countries don’t play other sports (watch the Olympics, and you will see that), but soccer is different.
It breaks down to eleven players working together to kick a ball past eleven other players while keeping the other eleven from kicking it past them. What makes it so special?
I’ll tell you what makes it special.
There’s something about being there. The feeling of being with the team. The buzz in the air even when there are not many fans there.
There is beauty in this sport.
A defensive recovery when all seemed lost.
A save out of nowhere.
A last minute goal.
A screamer from outside the box.
A tap in from in close.
A perfect pass to set off an attack.
All this happens without timeouts. There are no play stoppages. That, to me, is where the beauty lies. More than any other sport, soccer demands the unit work together as a team.
My influence is not the same as a basketball coach, for example. Late in a close game, the basketball coach can call a timeout to set up a play and remind the players of their responsibilities.
I can’t do that. It is up to the players to figure it out. Maybe that’s why soccer is so popular worldwide. The players on the field have to figure things out for themselves more than any other sport, and, in doing so, they forge bonds that are just different.
(Before I close, I want to celebrate our 7-4 victory today over McLean County.
Our girls played their hearts out today, and we had some significant moments. Sydney Tucker scored four goals to equal Bailey Caster’s record for most in a match. Chloe Peterson scored two goals to become only the third player into double digit goals in her career. Skyler Henderson scored a goal to become the youngest ever varsity goal scorer, knocking Autumn Rogers, former BCHSFC legend, off the perch by 51 days. Everybody played well, and it was just an awesome day to be the coach. I was proud of everyone)
That being said, I want to share something I was unable to get down into words yesterday, but it needs to be said. Let’s go down memory lane a bit. Get your tissues ready*
The other night, against Grayson County, we lost. I know. Too soon. Hear me out, though. With twenty seconds remaining, what happened?
Watch this clip. Watch it, and then come back. I’ll still be here.
Yes, the goal was scored, but did you really see it? Read this, and then watch it again once you have read.
First, Madison Driskell takes a great throw in, and Marcy Rogers, with everything she has and with two defenders on her, gets a pass away as she is knocked to the ground. This advances the ball up to Chloe Peterson. A Grayson County defender knocks the ball away, but we have advanced it enough to be a threat. Madison takes a quick throw to Chloe, who squares a ball to Sydney Tucker, who fights for it, and hits a perfect left-footed shot into the net. Now, that was awesome, but I want you to go back and watch every reaction. You see it all from our girls.
Disbelief (in the good way).
Each person tells their own story. I encourage you to watch each person celebrate this goal.
That was beauty.
On a personal note, I was pumped. Behind my mask, I was roaring. I had the privilege of standing in that same spot when my favorite moment from coaching of all time happened. It’s a special place for me. I’m getting misty-eyed thinking about it. This just adds to that legacy.
Soccer is a game where a group comes together to do great things.
It is a game where Breckinridge County can show that we can play this, too.
It is a game where, if only for one night in the middle of a pandemic, our girls gave our world some joy. We ended up losing the game, but this moment will remain forever. That’s just what soccer does!
And that, my friends, is beautiful.
Coach (Mr.) Garrett