Put Your Heart Into It

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My dad always told me right from wrong. He told me things like, “Don’t put your hand on the stove”, and, “Don’t put your finger in the outlet.” Of course I, being the little ignorant kid, did just what he said not to. But there was always that one thing that he told me that I took to heart the first time. He told me that no matter what, to not worry and that whatever happens is what God allowed. I actually learned this in my 8th grade year when my soccer team played their last game. It was our last chance to prove ourselves as a team.

It was colder than January in Alaska. It was more wet than the deepest abyss. The perfect weather for a soccer game. I was pumped, along with the rest of the team. We were psyched and ready to go and nothing was going to keep us from this feat. Riding the bus to our home field, was super quiet. You could tell that the only thing on people’s minds was the game. The energy was radiating off of everybody and you could tell something was going to go good. Kind of like the feeling you get on Christmas morning when you know something good is about to happen. It was a dream like experience, and it was really surreal. When we finally got to the school and started to warm up, the rain really started to come down. By the time we had finished warm ups, the other team had already showed up and was doing their warm ups. With five minutes left before game time, coach called us to the sideline. It there was ever a perfect time for one of coach’s famous pep talks, it was now. Captains were sent out as coach finished. We start with the ball.

It was weird at first. During that whole first half of the game, the coach’s pep talk never came back up in my mind. I was playing okay, but not to the best of my abilities. It was almost like I couldn’t or something.

Half time.

“Daniel, what’s up man?” coach asked as he pulled me aside.

“I don’t know. I felt so ready for the game but as soon as the first two goals went in, I guess I figured it was hopeless.”

“It’s never hopeless and it’s never your fault. Just get back out there and have fun. It’s the last game and it should be the best.”

We got back in the huddle and coach repeated the score, as if that’s what we needed. The ref then called us back on the field, threatening to call a delay of game.

Already I could feel a jump in my step, a life in my breath. I was back. Coach’s words made perfect sense and I wasn’t going to let him, or the team, down.

Not ten minutes after kickoff, something amazing happened! One of their forwards made a bad pass and I was able to pick it off. Once I got it under control, I made a perfect long pass right up to our best forward, Garrett. He immediately turned a made a perfect shot on goal. No matter what the goalie tried, he couldn’t stop it. The ball sailed through the air and flew right into the top right hand corner of the goal. It was unbelievable and the team went crazy. We were back in business and with a score of 2-1, we knew we had a chance. The game when on, and my adrenaline was through the roof. We ended up holding them to their previous score of two and then went on to score 2 more goals. We won the game. A final score of 3 to 2. At the end of the game both teams were smiling. The puddles at the beginning of the game had turned to lakes, and the best thing that we could think to do was to jump and dive through them like slip-n-slides. I don’t think we have ever had so much fun.

Now my team is the worst in the league. Didn’t win a single game last year. And scored and average of .2 points a game. Every time I get discouraged about a game. I just think of that game. It makes everything better. My dad was right. Just have fun with life and play it live it like it is your last day. Don’t worry about what happens next. Just live it out to the fullest. That is one thing that all athletes have in common. They know that any game could be there last and so they play with all of their heart and they get far in life.

Looking back I realize that middle school soccer matches don’t matter because nobody ever says, “So how was your middles school soccer game?” Nobody cares. So why should I?





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