It started on a hot day in August. With the sun beating down a bunch of children gathered on the front lawn of Pinehurst Elementary School with the soccer ball, cleats, shin guards and water bottles in hand. None of them knew what to expect the first day. They just knew they were there to play soccer.
They would meet their coaches and teammates and go through their first practice. It didn’t matter how much soccer knowledge they had, the coaches were teaching the basics. The coaches were instilling a foundation from the very beginning.
To the kids who were running around, they probably thought it was just another day of practice. But, they were wrong. This was much more. This was about trusting your teammates on the field and building a bond that will last for a lifetime.
Seasons tend to go by pretty fast. Playing 13 games sounds a lot, but in reality it isn’t. Most of the schedule is condensed where they play two or three games in a week. As they first game approach the Silver Bullets were getting pretty excited.
Not only was it the first game of the season, but it was the day they got their uniforms. Uniform day is always big when you are child. That’s day you get to pick out your number for the year. Your number is just as important as the player. It’s almost what you are defined as.
The Silver Bullets came together quick as a team. They jelled fast and went through the completion early – scoring lopsided wins. Don’t get me wrong wins are important, but so is building that bond. And, that’s what this team did early and often.
They rolled through the regular season going 11-1-1. It was a lot different for some players who sat through a winless baseball season. Winning breeds confidence – and these kids had a lot of it. Watching from the sidelines, it was nice to see the excitement when someone would score their first goal, or get that first assist.
When they all played keeper for the first time, you could see they were scared of the ball. For some of them, they weren’t used to getting the ball blasted at them all the time. As the season went on, however, you saw the confidence grow. They just weren’t stopping the ball, but someone of them were coming out and challenging the opposing player.
The growth was fun to see.
As the playoffs started it tough to contain the excitement. For some of them this was the first time they ever were in the position. The coaches did their best to explain to them that it was a win or go home kind of situation. The coaching staff did a great job not putting pressure on anyone – it was more of an explanation.
What they did in the regular season was great, and you can’t take that away from them. This was different. These kids wanted to win. They got the taste of it and wanted more. The only problem is not everyone wins a championship. Someone has to loose. It’s a great learning lesson for children and adults.
On this day, though, the soccer gods were shining down on the Silver Bullets as they ran through the playoffs and won the championship. At the end of the day you would never know who was happier them or their families.
Parents were jumping up and down and cheering on their kids to the title. It was a great moment and one that these little 7 year olds will cherish for the rest of their lives. Winning a title is great. Making friends for a lifetime is even better.