Experience Provides Educational Opportunities

Laci Doman, Features Editor

The end of the second half is coming to an end.  

The ball approaches me. 

My head drops. 

As the ball comes across my foot to the other, I stop the ball dead in front of me.  

My head raises.  

I look down the field to see two teammates wide on the sidelines and two in the middle. I hear them all screaming my name to pass them the ball. I run through my options quickly thinking about how players will shift once the ball is passed. 

I can see the opposing player sprinting towards me. 

I make my decision calling for a split through the middle. 

I watch my teammate on the box move, and all the other teams’ players shift with.  

The opposing player overruns and passes me.  

My head drops. I think about how much force to apply to the pass and the angle of which my teammate will arrive at.  

I swung my leg back and sent the pass through the bushel of players in the middle of the field.  

My teammate finds the pocket and slides right in between two of the opposing players. The ball rolls with force down the field.  

The ball passes one player; then the next, right to my teammate. 

They receive the ball right at the top of the box, they pull the ball under their foot and shoot. 

The keeper begins to jump to save the ball. But they left the ground just too late.  

My teammate makes it; top right corner, just far enough out of the keepers reach. We all ran towards her to celebrate. 

We quickly lined up for kick off. 

As the other team drops the ball back, the referee blows the final whistle signaling the game’s end.  

We just won. 

I let out a sigh. After a whole 90 minutes of pushing and pushing looking for those shots, I assisted the game winner.  

My body aches as I hobble to the sidelines with my friends. Laughing and joking, so glad that we won.  

I get out of my car and haul my stuff over to the field. I have my soccer bag on my back, a bag of balls on my left shoulder and pop-up goals on the other. 

I drop my stuff and begin getting ready to train.  

I set up my pop-up goals, let my soccer balls rush out of the bag. I check each one by pressing down with my knee to make sure they are not flat. 

I grab my cleats out from my bag, slip them on and lace them up.  

I begin by doing slow dynamic stretches to get warmed up.  

I pull my leg to my chest and hold till I feel a good pull counting to ten then switching.  

I begin to set my cones foot lengths apart down the field. I roll a ball under my foot and begin to weave in and out of the cones.  

Through the gate, up to the next one.  

Finishing off this small practice with shooting.  

I line the ball up, take a few steps back, run towards the ball, draw my leg back, and swing. I hit the ball at the bottom to allow the ball to rush towards the goal.  

I watch as the ball dips and strikes the back of the net.  

People often say that school is the only place that you can learn. That is not always the case. People can learn from experiences, athletics, extracurriculars and more. I have learned just as much, if not more, from soccer.  

School teaches you the basic academic classes and you learn about those topics, but what is not taught specifically is life skills, such as communication, decision making and hard work paying off. I learned how to make your challenging work count into something more.  

Working on skills outside of mandatory practice is hard to bring yourself to do, especially when you are tired. But when you are dedicated to what you do, you put your best effort into it. In school, you always think you are working your hardest and doing your best, but it may just be what you think your best is.  

You only put in as much effort as you want. Putting effort into soccer and seeing the outcome of it makes it easier for me to push myself harder in school. I push myself to allow me to get better. I have learned many things surrounded by a community of people that love the same sport that I do. I have learned things from soccer that I do not know if I would have learned so early on. I have now realized that they are important life skills to have learned so early.  

Soccer has taught me not only to communicate, but how to communicate and have it said in a way that is understood. During game when your down a few points and everyone is tired, you should keep pushing so instead of yelling at them to move faster, I say keep it up, keep working as hard as you can. As hard as you can may not be what your 100% is normally but if you are giving 100% of what you can right now that’s all you can ask. So, all I say is work your hardest and give it your all.