I woke up this morning to the sound of silence. I actually slept in till 8:30am. No dog scratching at my bedroom door. (Harry slept in, for some reason.)No sounds of water running in the kitchen and dishes clanging as Bill makes coffee- because he's not there. (He's off at a men's retreat). My daughter is still sleeping, and my son is exhausted and won't be up till noon, probably. Yesterday was the end of an era for us.
Alex played his last soccer game, yesterday. After playing soccer for over 11 years, I think it may have been the last time he plays the game competitively, at a school. I doubt he'll play in college. And while his team lost the sectionals yesterday, they had already won the local championship- first time in their school's history. My son scored the winning goal, in overtime, at one of the last games, giving his school a shot at winning the championship. And then in the last game, his school won 3-2, my son scoring one of those three goals. It was a good way to end the season. Finally.
So my son walked off the field yesterday (he asked me to make sure I was there- and I was), smiling, grinning, exhausted and happy.At peace. His team lost the regional sectionals but they had already won the local championship. He was a champion. And now he could put soccer, as a sport, to rest. It is not a ticket to anything else.
My Dad and my brother were at the game, my husband and I were there, and our daughter was running around with the older kids, cheering for my son. My son had a league of his own- a league of people who loved him and who were championing his dream. And his dream wasn't to be known as the best soccer player in the world. No, he just wanted to feel like a winner, for a season, and after years of working at the sport, walk off the field and let it go, finally; go on to something new that would take him .... somewhere. Soccer was a great sport, team play had frustrations, challenges, and moments of elation- and now playing on a school team was over. Sometimes it's good when something ends. It doesn't always have to bring a sense of regret when you end something. It can even bring blessed peace.
There are so many things my son wants to excel in: media communications, graphic design, song writing, film making, just to name a few. Thank God he can let a sport go, and know that it was a season, a long season of his life, but not a ticket to his dreams. It was a way to build character, strengthen his physical body, hone his instinct to pursue and prevail, learn team camaraderie, respect for a coach regardless of what you feel or think, and so many other things. But it isn't going to last, this ride. It ends sometime.
I turned to my husband who was quietly watching the game from our vantage point on the hill. "You were a NJCAA champion...." I reminded him. He had run cross country and skied cross country in college. My husband was an excellent athlete. I like to remind him of this, now and then, because nothing else in his life does so. There are no more rewards for having been a winner at a school sport, later in life. After a while, people forget your moments of glory, even if you never do. And you can be very frustrated in life if you think sports and glory and successful winning moments are always going to make you feel like a winner.
So, get a new ticket. Find the next thing for your next season in life. Cherish your memories and moments of glory, ... and then go on. Because life does.
And you don't want to miss what's next.