The Last Season

Whether you want to call it fútbol or soccer, it’s hard to disagree that it is a beautiful game. For all of my life, ever since I was five, soccer has been my world and one of the things I know best. It all started with my older sister, and my parents dragging me to each and every one of her club games. At first, when they mentioned the idea of soccer, I immediately screamed “no” because I didn’t want to be like my older sister, but they eventually coaxed me into giving it a shot, which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And, yes, I know that I was only five years old at the time of the decision, but soccer has changed my life.

They called me a natural and talented, which was something I never thought I would hear. I’ve always been a competitive person, whether it is with grades or sports, so when it was time to move up from the recreation league and join a club team, I was beyond excited.

Even though I was still young, soccer began to become my life; my weekends were no longer filled with sleep overs, but rather tournaments and weekend games. I loved every minute of it, though, and never wanted it to end. As I grew older, I became more skilled and worked my way up to the higher-level club teams. My parents always wanted me to branch out and try different sports, so in middle school I played softball and was also doing gymnastics; however, soccer always topped them all. I can’t quite tell you what it is about the game that makes me love it so much; it just is magical.

Sooner than I thought it would ever come, I became a freshman in high school and soccer season was just around the corner. My sister was an amazing player and as a freshman made the varsity team—that became my goal. I ran in the off-season so that I would be in shape for the three days of dreaded tryouts. I worked my butt off and it all paid off—I made varsity as a freshman and could not have been happier. For those of you who play on a sports team, you are aware of the bond created among teammates. That bond is hard to break, and in my freshman year one was created. While being a freshman on varsity did have its downsides, like carrying the water cooler, fetching balls out of the woods and doing all the things that the upperclassmen didn’t have to do, that year was what made me enjoy high school the most. I was fortunate to become close with the upperclassmen girls and had a great coach from whom I learned a lot.

I am now in my senior year, and after the third tryout day of soccer last month, it finally hit me that this is my final season. Being a captain on the team is weird because now you’re one

of the girls that everyone looks to for advice and instruction and we run things rather than being told how it’s going to be. I plan to make it the best season yet, but I know that it won’t end without tears. While I will not play soccer in college, club teams will remain a part of my life so I don’t have to give up the love quite yet. As the games go by and our senior night creeps closer, it becomes a bittersweet feeling knowing that in a couple of months my last time playing for Northwood soccer will be here. The team meals, sleep overs, playoff shirts and memories created over the past four years have been wonderful and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. To everyone who plays a sport they love, cherish it for as long as you can, because before you know it, it will be your last time putting on that beloved jersey.

— Dana Walker