Saturday, June 23, 2007
What a game! I mean that in general about soccer and in particular about the Magic U16 boys' game today. They played against the Nebraska Arsenal, a great team with tall, strong players. The tenor of the game became clearly established in the first half where the teams battled to a 0-0 tie. Magic had far more shots, but Nebraska used their breakaways well.
In the second half, Magic managed to score a goal that was off the GK's miss (at least that's how we saw it). But the referee (and I am sure Arsenal) saw it differently, and the goal was nullified as the ball was deemed in the GK's grasp. Two minutes later Arsenal scored on Magic with 20 minutes left in the game.
Now the true grit of these soccer players would be tested. Arsenal wanted to prevent a goal at any cost and Magic needed to score a goal at any cost. What an amazing battle between these two teams. Each player dug deeper, tried harder, and refused to give up. With two minutes left, Magic scored. I don't think a team was happier to secure a tie than Magic. Although they worked hard to find one more goal in the short time remaining, the boys were definitely relieved to earn a point and to take two additional points from their opponent.
Games like this are what I love about soccer. Magic had far more shots on goal than Arsenal, but it was the classic frustration of not finishing. Arsenal was gunning (forgive the pun) for Magic and when they scored you would have thought they won the World Cup. The emotional roller coaster of the back and forth play agonized me, but for the players on both teams, they remained calm and focused.
I credit soccer with teaching my sons the tenacity to fight for what they want, and the civility to do so fairly. I credit soccer with providing my sons with some of life's toughest battles so that they learn to be humble in victory and unbowed in defeat. I credit soccer for giving them reasons to be proud without arrogance, because they know that the next moment, the next game, the next season may not be as successful. I credit soccer with opening doors for them, while reminding them that any door can close if the gift isn't respected. I credit soccer for giving them friends who are teammates and teammates who are friends. I credit soccer for offering our entire family a bonding experience.
All I can say is ""What a game!""