ram. wolverine. tiger.

no, this is not a random post about animals. it is about animals, sort of, but mostly it's about people, and life experiences.

i have been a lot of things in my life. not the least of which have been my school, and therefore soccer affiliations.

through the entirety of my growing up life - through high school - i was a ram. it was green & white for every spirit day from kindergarten through 12th grade. i don't have any real digital copies of pictures from back in my high school days - that was before every camera was digital, and everyone had one, but here's a crappy copy of one from my senior night:

i loved high school soccer. i had a great coach, and we had a great team. even though i played in college, i was so sad to see my final season as a ram come to an end. i couldn't believe four years could have gone so quickly.

then i moved on to college. my freshman preseason at grove city was the first time i ever experienced 3-a-days. we alternated 3-a-days and 2-a-days for the entirety of preseason. thank goodness it usually only lasted about a week. those were my first days on campus, and they were full of bonding with my teammates. and for as much as i loved high school soccer, in many ways college was even better.

in those first couple weeks my loyalties shifted from green to red as i changed from a ram, to a wolverine.

in college i learned so much more about what it meant to be a teammate. i thought i knew before then, but i didn't completely get it. i loved playing the game - still do - but it's a little different when it matters for something.

my first two years in college we made it to the ncaa tournament for the first two times in the school's history - as an independent bid. those two teams were two of the best teams i have ever played on. the camaraderie was almost tangible we felt it so much. those teams were an example of 1+1=3. everyone was on the same page. we wanted the same things. we knew where we were headed. and even though neither of those seasons was my personal best, if i could pick one to go back to it'd have to be one of those two.

after my last game in college i was crushed. i simply didn't want it to be over. i had worked for so hard, for so long, and suddenly - it was done.

but now - now i'm a tiger.

coaching is not at all the same as playing - in case you were wondering. but it's about the game. it's about the team. it's getting back to what i love.

it's playing a part in making a team of girls better - not just as soccer players, but as human beings. after all, that's the goal. it's to learn how to win, learn how to lose, learn how to be part of something bigger than yourself, learn how to put others first. it's about more than just the game itself [as great as the game itself is...].

and i'm glad i still get to be a part of it -- no matter what animal i have to be.

i loved coaching. sure, it had its moments of headache, its moments of "why do high school girls have to have drama?!" but i loved it. i enjoyed coaching all 17 of my girls. i'll miss the ones who are leaving, and i look forward to getting to work more with the ones who are coming back. i legitimately cannot wait until next season.

and now i have the perfect book to help fill the gap:

{via amazon.com}

peter's cousin chris gave us this book this weekend, and i can't wait to crack it open and take it in. it may have to wait a week, but it's sitting prepped and ready to go.

i love the game of soccer. love it. and i'm going to end with the text from a nike ad that hangs on my inspiration wall. [this one:]

you started the dream
you know who you are

when you were young
heroes were few
so that's all you could do


there were no gold medals
no national team
no mia hamm

there was only what was in your heads
to play the game of soccer the best you possibly could

and that's just what you did

thank you, we'll take it from here.

[it's time to pass the baton
to the next generation]


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