Saturday, June 12, 2010

Soccer - My Sport of Choice

It's interesting to see how many people become instant soccer fans when the World Cup is going on. Me, I used to eat, sleep, breathe, and dream soccer like it was my life for the majority of my life. Ever since I was able to walk, I had a soccer ball between my feet. Soccer has helped define who I am. My competitiveness, eagerness, self motivation, and desire to live a healthy lifestyle all stem from my soccer playing lifestyle. I made some of the greatest friends, traveled all over the country and internationally, learned some life lessons, and I miss playing more than I thought I would.

I can vividly remember being on the field and playing the game like it was yesterday. I remember the feel of my cleats on my feet and the ground pounding beneath them. The smell of the freshly cut grass. The sensation of running so hard for so long that you feel like your legs are going to fall off. Slide tackling on wet grass that carried out the slide much more than you thought was possible. The natural feeling of striking the ball at my feet. I loved creating plays and the incredible moments when I could watch the ball sneak past the goalie's dive. Most of all, I love to remember my teammates who played beside me. Those girls helped me get through some tough years more than they will ever know.

During the summer season, when we were out of school, we'd often have two-a-day practices. This photo reminds me of our early morning practices when the grass was still wet from dew. We had some intense training sessions that we ... learned to appreciate.

This photo reminds me of our late night games. The feeling of stepping out onto the soccer field at night with the lights all lit up is incredibly energizing! Night matches were always so fun during the summer when it would still be in the 80's long after the sun went down.

Soccer is full of beautiful plays:

And some hilarious mishaps:

That must be what a concussion looks like. I got a concussion once, where I went one on one with the goalie in an indoor game. Somehow we ended up colliding at full speed and I flipped over her and my forehead broke my fall on the indoor track field turf. I wonder if that's what I looked like smashing into the floor for a split second. Well, all I know is that I had the floor pattern indented in my forehead for a good week and had to wear a neck brace, and I'm not posting a picture of that!

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