Wednesday, May 5, 2010

soccer memories, personal failings

maybe it's spring fever . . . but i am seriously dying to be on a soccer team! i played fresh-junior year in high school, had never played before, just thought it would be fun. i remember after one of the first games of my freshman year, it was a varsity game at this tournament that always started our season, the coach used me as an example of the way people should play. it had something to do with me running full-force at a chick who had several inches and many pounds on me, and attempting to get the ball from her. he said i had guts. that made a big impression on me.

even so, at some point i got self-conscious about making mistakes and began doubting my capabilities, and wouldn't commit. i'd get psyched out and either not push hard for the ball or let it get stolen from me.

my coach had this term called "diving in" which meant if someone on the other team had the ball, and you approached them to try & get it from them - but didn't really do it with much thought or skill or commitment, you'd kind of dive into their space and they'd just keep control of the ball and go right around you. their momentum would keep moving toward your goal, but now your momentum has stopped because you dove in but didn't really make anything of it, and now you have to turn around and CHASE after the person with the ball. chasing was a big no-no. if you get beaten by an opponent and they get past you, you have to turn around and first get to the goal, or get in between your opponent and the goal. you have to run like mad to get in between them and the goal - if you chase the opponent, you're doing nothing to protect your goal and the ball is in front of them, you can't possibly get it by running behind them.

anyway - diving in and chasing were bad things to do, and our coach called us on it. i also had a couple buddies who were really great soccer players on the team and i began to get really intimidated with the thought of messing things up for them. so i basically stopped trying, stopped being fearless and became fearful. i still had my speed but just wasn't making the best choices, including lots of hesitation at the wrong moments.

other than a handful of jv games, i played and sometimes started on varsity. we didn't have a huge team. my junior year, though, we got a crop of freshman who were great and they pushed a lot of us mediocre players out of our varsity positions. along with a couple other formerly-varsity players, i only played a few varsity games that year, and played mostly JV.

the funny thing is that with the pressure of varsity games off (and likely some maturity thrown in for good measure) i began overcoming my fear, and actually played pretty well my junior year, on the jv team. i also played midfield and forward more that year (which are the attack & scoring positions). funny, those are the "glory" positions yet i'd never been interested in them before because i was so scared of messing things up and not scoring.

i lettered in varsity my fresh & soph year but didn't letter my junior year, though i thought i'd squeaked by with enough varsity time to get the letter. turns out i didn't and i found out the night of the sports banquet. i remember that was especially embarassing for me because that year my bffs and i had been "managers" for the boys team in the fall (girls play in the spring). so we were all close to the guy players. (we were basically water girls, equipment girls, etc). the coach had a rule that anyone who wanted to manage his boys team had to play for the girls in the spring, he only wanted players as managers. he also pushed his teams to support each other, so any guy players that weren't already at the spring sports banquet for baseball or track or something, were there to support us girl players. so i found out right before the banquet that i wouldn't be lettering, and i'd already dealt all season long with the embarrassment of having been moved down to jv. so when it came time for the coach to call out the players who'd lettered, he did that but then said something like "there are a few players who have lettered in the past, but didn't this year, and i want them to stand up because they're just as important to our team as the rest . . . " and then he called up me and the couple other formerly-varsity players.

i was mortified. and you know, looking back, how silly. i was so embarrassed to have not been AWESOME. on one hand, i can say i have never felt much fear at trying new things, i don't mind not being great at something. on the other hand, i am vain. i like to be acknowledged for my talent & skill. i guess i don't have a problem DOING something i'm not great at, especially when i love it anyway, but i hate being called out as not being great at something. wayyyyy too vain. sheesh.

so i'm standing there, all purple-faced (because you know i can't control my blushing) and just wishing i could die.

sometime later that year my coach asked if i'd be managing the guys again in the fall and i told him i did'nt know if i'd be playing in the spring or not, and i knew about his "you must play to manage" rule . . . he was disappointed. now, part of the reason i didn't play my senior year was because i'd gotten a job that i needed to help out at home because my mom was sick and couldn't work. my job would have conflicted with practice & games. also, by spring of my senior year i was barely attending classes because i was so over high school, i am pretty sure i was truly depressed. saw a school counselor a year later and she said everyone thought i was on drugs because pommie/soccer player/choir member/student council/gospel choir/volunteer & join everything ashley was acting so strange and getting in trouble and not going to class. but part of the reason i didn't play was because my ego was bruised and i wasn't willing to let it go.

i remember going to the last game the girls played that year, they were a couple games into the playoffs leading to the state championship, i think. i stood on the sidelines and watched as the girls i'd played with for 2-3 years huddled together, and hugged and cried (the seniors cried, it was their last game together) and feeling so left out, and regretting having not played, having let my pride run the show. but it was too late.

so anyway. that is an entirely too-long story that i never intended to get into, to say that recently i've been thinking about soccer again and how much fun it was. after high school i was kind of burned out on it, plus it seemed everyone who wanted to play pick-up games were really good & competitive and i couldn't hang, no one wanted to just "have fun" with it. so i hardly ever played again.

now kori is into it, i need some exercise and i also just became facebook friends with a guy who happened to be the superstar goalie from the guy's team. we dated a bit back then. funny, because i've been in & out of touch with other players ever since high school but it was talking to him again that brought back so many memories.

i would love to play around with kori, or find some ultra-non-competitive, we're-actually-not-that-good-we-just-want-to-have-a-good-time group of people to play with sometimes.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...