GOAL!

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Eighteen years old, I sit here looking upon my past as I am about to finish my senior year of high school and enter my freshman year in college in Rhode Island. When I was eight, I started playing Park and Recreation soccer; this is where it all began. Soccer gave me something to work hard at, other than school because at that age, I was breezing by with all check pluses. After wining my first medal my first year playing, I knew I wanted many more medals and trophies to fill the walls of my room.
Over the ten years, each coach I worked with taught me a great deal. Mr. Bedocs, my favorite coach, inspired me. I played on Mr. Bedocs team as a hard-working defender, but I was not as skilled as I should have been. I was worked hard, determined to get better. He knew just how to coach me so I would learn. Other girls would be told what to do, but he would have to show me. Once when we were doing a corner kick drill, I was defending, and the other half of our team was attacking. Telling me to charge the ball, stay on my toes, and just get it out of the penalty box, I did not understand. Sounds easy enough, but I had to be shown. He stopped practice to walk me through the motions. I quickly understood, perfecting it in only a few practices.
Mr. Bedocs is a funny man to say the least; he would always crack jokes at practices, making fun of us in the best way possible. Since practice was every Thursday in New Haven, the drive was far. One practice I forgot my cleats at home, and I was wearing sandals. Since I could not practice without my cleats, my mom and I went to the dollar store, where we purchased three sizes too big five-dollar Fubu’s. They were pure white with Fubu engraved on the side, possibly the most ghetto shoes I would ever wear, and this is because I was forced. Walking across the field to practice, all of my teammates were laughing hysterically. During practice, I had to go to retrieve a ball I over kicked past the goal. On my way back, I tripped over the net, and Mr. Bedocs just said “hey, big foot, watch where you’re going.” My best friend, Ashley, dropped to the ground laughing hysterically. The most important thing he taught me was a quote from ‘Bedocs book of Philosophy’, “The coach just draws a sketch, and the player fills it with color- to make it a masterpiece.” He guided me, and I was capable of reaching my potential and even exceeding it. I knew coach Beadocs was the one who made me the player I am today because the high school season after I played with him, I made the varsity team as a sophomore. I see him every summer for a week straight at Championship Soccer Camp where he continues to guide and perfect my skills.
In high school sports, there is a bond that I cannot get anywhere else. I love my teammates like family, but I secretly have to hate them during try-outs because we are all fighting for the same eleven spots. Coach Kilbride taught me that. She has been my coach for four years, and she knows exactly how my brain and body works. She knows that although I am not as fast as everyone else, I work harder, and I am more aggressive. This year, my senior year, I did not start varsity, which upset me. For the next few weeks after our first games, I worked even harder, harder than I knew I ever could. Coach K, knowing I had more potential in me, she pushed me harder. Eventually I started every game.
Coach always told the team to fight, and fight hard. One away game vs. H-K, we played terribly in the first half. At half time, she was infuriated because we were not playing the way we should have been playing. Looking back, we really did not play as the Morgan Huskies. She said some mean things during halftime demanding that we better shape up and play the way we can. As the rest of the team jogged back over to the bench, she pulled me aside and said, “Katie, you are a senior. You better go out there and work hard, and push that girl around. Get a card. I won’t be mad”. Just the fact that coach took me aside, showed me she had high expectations for me, and wanted to see me succeed. In that second half of the game, I scored my first varsity goal. As I was jogging back to restart, a girl who previously spit on one of our freshman players spit on me. Even though I did nothing when she attacked the freshman, the talk coach gave me made me stand up for myself. I confronted this player, told her she better calm down, or she would get it. When she laughed at me, I was infuriated beyond belief. Once the game ended, emotionally hurt, I started crying. Coach told me there was so reason to cry; what the opposing player did was un-sportsman-like, and obviously since I had done something she did not like, I won in the long run. Coach kept telling me how proud she was that I had the guts to stand up to her. After the game, she took me and team captain Jocelyn aside, and told us we handled the situation well, but she honestly would not have minded it if either Jocelyn or I punched the spitter in the face. This showed me she knew I was a leader, and I had guts. On the bus ride home, coach told the whole team, they should have had my back. Since no one did, coach was disappointed. The next time that we faced H-K, it was our senior night. H-K had the nerve to come an hour early, bringing their own music. This set me off as soon as I got to the field. During the game, the spitter was completely out of control. I challenged a ball against her, and I fell on purpose so we could possibly get a free kick. She spat on me again, and my whole team charged her screaming that she needed to calm down, lay off our teammates, or she was in for a rude awakening. These actions that my teammates took showed coach, the fans, and me, that Morgan Girls Soccer sticks together, and no one gets away with being disrespectful to our team. Winning that game never felt any better. After we had won our senior night, the spitter was crying when we shook hands. During our team meeting after the game, all coach could do was laugh. She kept saying “I love senior night”. She recognized my hard work and how everyone had my back. She had a whole speech on how having people have your back is just a good feeling, and how important it is to help out one another. This lesson has helped me have people’s backs even if I do not know them

As I move on with my life and advance on to playing division three soccer at Johnson and Wales University, these life lessons are ones that I will carry with me. I will respect my teammates and dorm mates, having their back whenever they need it. I will try and lighten moods with jokes. My athletic childhood will lead me to a successful future.





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