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The Political Team

I don't really know what to think about the whole situation anymore. What I expected to be a test of strength turned into what many see as a massive political disaster. It all started after last season. The varsity soccer coach got fired, so a new one had to be hired. The guy seemed pretty cool. He set up a pre-tryout camp and made a great first impression at the meeting he held. At the camp he had us attend everything seemed to be going extremely well. The coaches had me playing with the other varsity players, and pointed out the good aspects of my game. I showed up at tryouts ready for blood. I did all the drills to the best of my capabilities. However, over the two days that we had the tryouts, I noticed that the coach was not watching us. Instead, he hung around with the gimps on the sideline. The tryouts began to feel like more of an easy going practice than an all out competition, but I continued to play my hardest.

When the tryouts were over, the coach read us the names of his initial roster. Then he named three more players who would have the opportunity to play with them for a couple more days in hopes of a roster change. I was in this group, which I saw as good and bad. I was very unhappy to not be on the team, but I felt confident that I could prove myself now that I would be up against the best players. After two practices, the final chance to make the team occurred in a scrimmage against another town. The coach played me for 60 of the 80 minutes in the game, giving me the chance to score a goal and show my best level of play. After the game the team was pulled aside in small groups to be told the final choices for the team. He called the two girls who were not on the initial roster and me, last. Apparently he was not saving the best for last.

It is the political aspect of how the team was chosen that does not make sense to me, though. People talk about how many of the players on it seem to be there for non-soccer-oriented causes. For instance, when I walked into the coach's office, I found the father of one junior who did not even plan on trying out for the team shares the office with the coach. Was playing on the coach's team over the summer the major factor that gave five girls slots on the team? I find myself wondering if the popular opinion that the girl who was best friends with these five players wound up as a new member on the team due to this factor. Others comment on what close friends the coach is with the father of one of the new additions to the team. These theories have no proofs, but they seem to form a definite conclusion.

So upon our disappointment, the three of us went to practice the day after the scrimmage. This time we were with the jv squad. I showed up thinking that the season was going to be horrible. However, my feelings quickly changed. The coach of the team turned out to be an international level soccer player, who is a full-time coach. He was asked to coach our team in order to strengthen it. He knows more about soccer than any coach in this town ever has. Over the past two months he has led our team to be undefeated in ten games, and not a single goal has been scored on us. After one game a referee complimented our coach, saying that he has never watched such a good team. He has taught me to be a leader on and off the field, as well as play with complete confidence. I step on the field feeling like I control the game. I make it through tough school days because I know that I get to play soccer once it's over. This has turned out to be the best season of soccer in my life. I now truly know how to play, thanks to the man that I credit as both my coach and my friend.

I now thank the heavens, because all the evil became outweighed by good in the end. When my coach told me that I belong on varsity, I was able to smile and say how glad I am that I'm not.

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