The end of eighth grade year was near and summer was approaching. In eighth grade soccer to me, was such a passion, something to be a part of my life for a while. When summer came around and I was training for the 5 mile run for soccer tryouts in August, I thought this is so much work. I wanted to give up everyday I ran. But I couldn’t, wouldn’t.
As summer was coming to an end and the big 5 mile run was within the next couple of days I was scared that I couldn’t do it, or finish. As the day came along it was time to start the run. I paced myself at the beginning being by my friends to make the run easier. At about the third mile I thought to myself that all my training to do well in this run was not going to be wasted on being last in the run. I sped up and caught up to all the seniors in the front of pack and ran with them. At the fourth mile, I thought “one more mile I can do this.” I sped up a little more to push myself to do better and I beat most of the seniors in the run. The first day was finally over. Second day was better, we did a lot of drills to see who had good foot skills. At the end of day two we all played for thirty minutes. When it was down to the final day of tryouts, we played for 2 hours to show the coaches what we can do in a full size game. I was so nervous that I would be cut from the team. Then from behind me I hear, “Baker, Feldpausch, Varney.” All so nervous of what might be the end, as we walked over to the coaches I heard from behind me a bunch of people whispering about us. I could feel the eyes on us, the sweat dripping down my face, the thoughts and feelings, and emotions going chaos. As we walked up to the coach of JV and the Varsity team, the first they tell us is there is good and bad news. We all wanted bad news first, the bad news was, “ We didn’t make varsity.” We were confused, but then Coach Eaton the JV coach said, “The good news is we made JV” It was such a relief, all those bad thoughts, feelings... gone. All the adrenaline was still there even after the tryouts were over. The thought that I just made the JV team hit me later that night. I was so excited. All that work paid off. At the start of the regular season was a bit tough to keep grades up, be to practice on time, schoolwork done, and stay responsible outside of school. I thought I was lucky to have amazing friends to help me get through freshman year. Without them I would have been lost and not know what to do. Freshman year towards the end got easier for soccer because I got into a routine.
Sophomore year, the weeks dwindling to an end. Soccer becoming everyday. During tryouts on the last day, the Varsity team had hardly any players so the coach was pulling up some sophomores to play varsity. I was expecting to get pulled up because out of the other sophomores I was the best. But things changed, and ideas changed, and I was not pulled up. It was like being on the B team when you know you deserve to be starting on the A team. Just knowing I could have done better to be on the Varsity team was the only thing I could think about for weeks on end. Knowing that if I would have done something a little better I would be on Varsity as a sophomore. But I soon realized that I should take the opportunity to make myself better with the easier competition and make myself be the leader and the player I should be to be on Varsity. As the season progressed I improved my game play and my attitude to be more of a team player that is the captain I was. When I was the player I needed to be, the varsity coach asked me to play a game on varsity to see how I would fit in. So as I played the game, I was a good fit for the team, and so after the game he talked to me in private and asked if I would like to be on the varsity team for the rest of the season. How could I say no!? So as the week went on I started to be more of a varsity player that I was supposed to be. The varsity team didn’t win a single game. When I started in the third game of my varsity season, I scored early in the match for the lead. Then another teammate scored before half as well. The score 2-0 at half. We had given up a goal to make it 2-1. And that was the final score of the game. That would be the only game of the season that we won.
As sophomore year was over, and junior year starting up. I was playing varsity and a starter on the team. We started off the season with losses. We couldn’t win a game to save our life. We were the team looked at as practice. We as a team looked like a team that was the easy win. The team that was a joke. We never played like a team. We never wanted to play soccer. We didn’t even want to practice, or even be at practice. We thought who cares we suck anyways why should I care. It took towards the end of the season to finally win one game. Then the first game of districts we beat Hastings by scoring 2 goals in the first minute of the game. Then Hastings scored one to make it 2-1. That's the way it stayed till five minutes left in the game when we scored one more to beat Hastings to move on to the semi-finals. We lost to Plainwell 3-1. The emotions after the game were crazy. So many different emotions, sad, anger, happiness, shock, confusion. As a junior I felt like my soccer days for high school was over, even though it was only junior year, and I had one more season, I felt like I was done. The realization of me only having one more year in high school was unbearable. The only thought I had to myself was “I can’t believe I have only one more season of soccer.” This is it one more season. As I cried for the next 2 hours because I'm almost done with high school, and soccer. The feelings from not wanting to play to going to miss high school soccer came from just pure anger towards the team. I put in my 110% effort and I put in my heart into the game and just to get teammates there that played because their parents forced them to play a sport. The team had three different IQ’s for the game. There was me in the top IQ, then some of the other players who were there because they had to be, then the bottom level who were extra players if the starters or back-ups got injured or sick. I was more upset at myself for not trying to improve the team more. Instead I kept my head down took all the crap and blended in.
And later junior year a twist came when I get a call from the varsity coach saying he is stepping down as a coach and now I don’t know what to expect from the new coach. I don’t know who it is yet and I'm almost as nervous now as I was freshman year. Even from Freshman year to senior year the nerves of being cut are high, and my high school soccer career was about to change tremendously.