Oct. 19 is a date that has been glued in my memory for months now – since last spring when coach handed us the preliminary season schedule.
Today, as I write this, is that day.
My nerves are tensing and I can’t find the words I want.
It’s Oct. 19. Senior Day. A day that every college athlete recognizes, appreciates and dreads all at the same time.
Senior Day, for anyone who isn’t familiar with the life of an athlete, is usually the last home game of the season where the team recognizes their remaining seniors. I say remaining because my class started out with ten girls. Emily, Nicole and I are now the three lone seniors of the
I’ve played soccer my entire life, literally since the day I could walk.
Since the age of three, I’ve been on all sorts of teams – recreational, traveling, club, indoor, summer, high school, college. Not to mention, I’ve participated in soccer tournaments all over the state. These tournaments usually were how I spent some of the most important weekends of an average high school kid’s life – Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. And, yes, even Prom Weekend was spent sweating in shin guards and cleats.
After 18 years of this routine, at the age of 21, all of this is starting to come to an end. I’ll still play on U-23 teams, summer leagues and, without a doubt, pick-up at any turf field I find.
But, in a few weeks, depending how for we make it into post-conference play, I’ll no longer be on a team that consumes each and every waking moment of my life, even out of season.
Never again will I have to wake up at the crack of dawn, before the sun, and crawl out of bed in anticipation of a morning filled will soccer balls, sprints, fitness tests, barbells, wet grass, moving the goals, pinnies that wreak or anything of the sort. Each of these things, as often as I’ve hated them, I will miss tremendously.
Today reminds me of my senior year in high school, which was just as emotional when that, too, came to its end. But, the difference then was that I had college ball to look forward to. Though U-23 teams are fun, they lack the glam that college ball has – mainly because you can’t graduate from U-23 teams and there is a very likely chance that 40-year-old women could be sharing the same pitch as me.
Right now, I’m blasting “Can You Hear Me” by Enrique Iglesias, the 2008 Euro Official song. I’m watching YouTube videos of some of my favorite players – Messi, Aguero, Tevez (yes, all Argentinean players… but, I’ll admit a video or two of Ronaldo may have snuck their way into my pre-game pump up).
I’m even watching Quilmes commercials. Quilmes, the official beer sponsor of “La Seleccion Argentina” or the Argentinean national team, tends to have pretty inspirational commercials. I recommend them to all Argentinean fútbol fans.
All of this is getting me ready. All of this is pumping me up. But, my time – for now – is up.
It’s time I run to the locker room, and then to the pitch. It’s senior night. I can’t freaking wait.
A win tonight will mean a better shot at playoffs. A loss tonight will mean a necessary win next Saturday. Either way, each game, from now until that last whistle of that last game of the season, is one more chance to enjoy the remainder of my college career.
One more chance to live up to my potential. One more chance to make my team proud. It’s either one more chance, or one last chance.
I’d prefer the former.