Last fall when we uprooted our kids from the place where they grew up in pursuit of God’s call on our lives, we looked for some ways to make life easier since we knew they were going to face some new challenges. Before we even moved to Brighton/Hamburg last fall we tried to find an opportunity for Lindsay to play soccer. She had only played in rec leagues before, so she wanted to try a travel league. We made a call to the Hamburg league – could they add a player? The answer was yes, provided the child was a girl and a U14 player. Lindsay was both.
So began Lindsay’s travel league experience. She received an official uniform – one that didn’t have a sponsors name plastered in huge letters across the front. It was a nice red and white Adidas jersey along with some huge shorts. She even got to pick her own number (who but Lindsay would pick a number like 43 for soccer?). She was ready to play for Hamburg United.
Hamburg United was not a strong team. In the fall season they tied one game. In the winter season they managed to win two games. This past spring they didn’t win any. (It didn’t help that their goalie totaled her ACL in the first practice of the spring.) But it didn’t really matter because it was Lindsay’s best year of soccer ever. She had a great coach who made things fun – and she had some great teammates who played hard every game and never quit. Better yet, they remained a team. They never rode each other, never got upset with each other when mistakes were made, and never felt sorry for themselves. They went out every game and competed.
Last night was their end-of-the-year pool party. It was their last time to all be together. Hamburg United is breaking up. Some are moving up to U15. Others will be playing in other leagues. I think the girls were all sad. It has been an incredible year for those girls, and for Lindsay especially.
She made 15 friends. She got to play soccer for the right reason – for the love of the game. She discovered that she didn’t have to win to have fun. She got to play a ton of soccer. She improved her game. And she’s become a big buddy with a teammate who lives just a few houses away.
I think this is the point of youth sports – to learn teamwork, to improve your skills, to compete, to create memories that will last a life time, to make friends, and to have fun!
Yep, Lindsay is sad – sad that her very imperfect season is over. But I’m not sure how imperfect her season really was. I think it was pretty much the opposite.
Here’s to Hamburg United!