Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Disappointment, Mud and Tears

Football playoffs. In the rain. In the mud. With 11 sad girls.

My football team had our playoff tournament yesterday. We left the school at 11:30 to travel to the tournament site. The girls were in very good spirits to start the day considering that 1) it was pouring down rain 2) it was quite cold, and the big one 3) they were going to have to miss the Halloween dance! Gasp! Shock! No!!!!

We made it to the tournament site, I attended to coaches' meeting and the tournament was underway. This was my fourth year coaching football and every year I end up divided on whether or not it is enjoyable or miserable. Usually there are equal parts for both. We had a rocky start this year, and a little bump in the middle with the administration but overall I have really enjoyed coaching the girls. I think they were the best team I've had in 4 years. This was especially demonstrated to me when we won the first game in the playoffs to remain on the championship side!! That has never happened before.

It was a great game too. The other team was comparable to us in most ways, except maybe our speed on the offence. Towards the end of the game they started to catch on and their defence improved but we won quite easily. There is always a break in between the games so the girls ate hot dogs, played on the swings and boy watched. All things that serious athletes do! ;)

Our second game was against the team that was hosting the tournament, their coach is the convener of the league and THEY ALWAYS WIN. A win against them would have been amazing, AND it would put us into the championship game. However, they had a monster on their team. In case I hadn't mentioned it before, this is middle school flag football. So we are talking 11, 12, and 13 year-old girls. This team had a girl who was well over 5'11". Huge...and slightly mannish really. (I know that is bad to say about a child, but my girls were actually kind of scared.) To make a long story short, we lost. WE had some fabulous defence in the 2nd half and even though they scored 2 touchdowns in the 1st, we held them in the second. Our offence couldn't move in an inch, however. Girl's football is often all about handoffs and speed down the field. Not yesterday. They were on to us, and throwing makes our girls nervous. (Note to self: work on that next year)

So even though we were out of the championship we would still play for the bronze. This game was AMAZING. The best game of the year. The girls played brilliantly, our defence often didn't even let them move past the line of scrimmage. There was even a sack in the end zone for a 2 point safety. It came down to the last 3 plays of the game. We have just scored the safety to make it 8-12 for them. A touchdown for us would win the game. First, a throwing play. Snapped by the centre, who then runs a hook pattern and wrestles the ball out of the air. Awesome. Second, a handoff to our star running back. She spins, and spins, and spins. We are now about 20 yards from the end zone. One play left. A hail mary throw. Everyone just get to the end zone. The ball is snapped, a fake handoff, and the throw...the centre leaps in the air, tries to gain possession...and comes down empty handed. The season is over. We have lost.

You know when you watch the March Madness basketball on TV how the college players who lose in the important games end up sitting on the court in tear? That's what our centre did in the end zone. On the day before Halloween there were 11 crushed little girls. Sad about losing a football game. I am so proud that we ended up 4th out of 16 or so teams. But I am more proud that the girls wanted it so bad, tried so hard and really threw their passion into the game. It's one of the reasons I love football so much. If you don't leave it all on the field, it's not really football is it?

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Last Words...

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe