A Reflection of a Season

It has been 10 months since we found out that Lona made a Ranger soccer team. I was excited with her and realized that I could get wrapped up with status of having a kid on a select team. I tried hard to maintain a level head and be objective. At the beginning of this 10 months we were comtemplating moving to the Houston area.  We were unsure if accepting the position on the team would be the right thing to do or not but we plowed ahead and had her accept.  However that meant she couldn't audition for the special dance company at her dance studio. It also meant giving up some other fun things. I was asked to be team manager and John thought that would be a good fit for me. I was just going to coast through this year but I jumped in with both feet and started swimming. I didn't know what I was doing or really what was required of the athlete. She started practicing with the team right away and knew a few people but no one very well. The Moms from Ferndale organized a carpool and we started taking turns driving the girls. At first the car rides were silent and awkward but then they became comfortable with each other and with the parents that each car ride was full of screaming and laughter. There was a sleep over at a house on the lake and they started bonding. We participated in a tournament right away thankfully at our local soccer field. I missed it due to a wedding I was helping to photograph. Then two other tournaments around Seattle. We all stayed in the same hotel and there was lots of bonding and laughter with that. We played at the Starfire Complex and Lona was able to meet some Sounder's players. Job registered as a referee and worked that tournament. I started to see the girls develop their skills including Lona. She had a little playing time at the beginning and would play about half the game where other girls played the whole game. It was hard to drive 3+ hours to a game and watch her play for 30 minutes. However as a parent, I can be overly critical and it would almost break my heart if she made a mistake on the field. I so wanted her to do well. She was placed in forward and I wasn't sure if that was good or not. At the end of fall season, her coach placed her as a defender. I will admit when she ran out on the field in that position I was worried but it was the best I've seen her play. Other parents commented too and the coach decided that was a better fit than forward. She told me that when she got close to the goal, she would panic and pass it to another player.  Not the best for a forward but her passing was great! She started to play longer and longer times and has played the whole game towards the end of the season. She's played in Seattle hot weather and Seattle pouring down rain in the winter and still liked it.  I started taking photos of all the girls and was able to just stay quiet that way behind the lens. I felt like I was muddling through registering the team for the different tournaments and sending out driving directions. I tried to answer questions but sometimes it was days before I could because I was searching for answers. I didn't know how to come up with a budget for the team or what to expect for tournaments. I didn't know about State Cup Tournament being right after Christmas break, I thought it was at the end of Spring Season instead of at the beginning of it. I didn't really know about rosters and player cards and field rentals. I didn't know about fundraisers and to tell the truth organizing one seems overwhelming to me. I learned about the different leagues and divisions within the leagues. There was so much right away. Then the paperwork; medical release forms, registration, concussion form, and more. The email list and keeping track of who received emails and which emails were returned was daunting at first but then routine.  I have learned all the paper work and probably would still mess up with it, especially the stuff that is done once a year. I've learned to set a day to send out emails and try to do that first thing Monday mornings. Even though the season is over, I still send weekly emails out. We have optional practices and there are emails on camp information that is sent to me since I'm the manager that I try to forward on to the team. I check to see when tryouts are announced so that I can pass that information on as well. We still haven't had our end of season party but that will happen in a month or so. Through the year I have been able to get to know the girls, the parents and even some of the siblings on the team. I look forward to visiting with the parents on nights that I am able to and just relax and laugh. I had heard horror stories of different teams and I was tentative. Would this year ruin it for me or for her? I would have to say that overall it's been a great experience. I've seen Lona develop on and off the soccer pitch. I've seen her deal with disappointment with losing and not being able to do things and we've been able to deal with self comparison, myself included. We've had to give up fun things with other friends such as sleep overs before games, say no to fun things with the team so she can referee and learn to prioritize. She's learned to get to know the other girls on a one to one basis and found things that are in common. Best of all, she has developed some great friendships and so have I. She has decided to tryout again this spring so we will see what it will bring the next year.

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