Yesterday was the last. Game. Ever. The Panthers have been playing together since fourth (?) grade. A few players have left over the years and we’ve gained a few younger players these past seasons but the handful of core players have remained tight and close and would never think to give up or leave. Even with problems with former coaches, even when they lost every game in the season, even when they had knee/ankle/hip/eye/concussion injuries they still showed up and played. As much as I am excited about never having to think about my daughters high school experiences ever again, not having soccer in my life is going to leave me a bit melancholy.
Don’t get me wrong- if you know me you know I bitch about practically everything involving going to the games, dealing with parents, listening to the stupidity of the other teams parents, Zombiegirl’s moodiness, MR’s moodiness and the referees (who, btw, have become increasingly inept. I sometimes feel the girls are not only playing against the opposing team but also against the refs.) I will truly miss cheering the Panthers on. I will miss being on the sidelines to their silliness. I will miss the excitement of watching them running down the field closing in on the goal. Nothing beats watching your kid (and by extension, all my adopted Panther players) score that goal. Or meg the opposing team. Or listen to your coach husband encourage the girls to RUN!
I’ve poured my heart out to a few of my soccer mom friends- you’re sitting there for an hour and a half-what else are you going to do but talk while watching the girls? Bonding on the field is special because you’re all rooting for the same outcome. My soccer moms will always hold a special place in my heart even if we’re not on the field anymore or if we no longer talk. Growing up, I was never on a team (I’m not counting after school CYO softball) so I never got to experience the bonding and fraternization that comes with having teammates. I was lucky enough to get that with my sideline mommas. We were another kind of team.
Yesterday they played RVC, a team they could have beaten but one mishap with an underage referee cost us the game. We went out with a 4-3 loss and a yellow card for MR because of our parents defending (yelling) the play. Our record was bleak this season, but it doesn’t matter because it’s over. Over over.
Afterwards there was food, there was cake, there were beers and there were tears. Families, players and coaches came together for the last time under the West Hempstead Panthers banner to say goodbye to the team that’s been extended family for 15 years.