It Has Been a Great Ride

Then the clock reached the 90th minute, marking the end of the game. The end of the season. And the end of a high school athletic career.

We LOVED watching you play.

Being a high school athlete is not easy. Being one in the Classic 8 Conference adds another level of difficulty. A scholar athlete, yet another piece of complexity. Having your Dad be the Coach for half of the year adds more. Coming back from surgery to a part of your body required to succeed in both sports just adds to it.  But you did it.

We LOVED watching you play.

You were able to have great coaches in your life that molded, mentored, encouraged, challenged, assisted, took chances, made you expand your horizons. Coach Worzella, Coach Perugini, Coach Hauser, and Coach Ksobiech in soccer. Then on the swim side, it was the holy trinity of female coaches with Coach Sarah, Coach Jordon, and Coach Elle. Not sure what we would have done all four years without them.

We LOVED watching you play.

We had a series of ups and downs over the past four years. And I learned as season 2 was going on that I wanted to be your Dad at meets when you swam. We hardly disagreed on what was best for the team or for you during that time. You were Captain for 2 seasons but in reality had it figured out what makes a team click after freshman season. That was your leadership coming out.

We LOVED watching you play.

Many things we could not have predicted would happen.  Your coach swimming you in JV your first high school meet because he was not sure what was going to happen – it was the 200 IM. Having your first prom as a Sophmore on your birthday after two soccer games that were over an hour away. Most would not have handled that as well as you did. Hating butterfly moved to being a love and a key to breaking the school record and going to State twice. Tearing your ACL and recovering mentally and physically from it. Being named Prom Queen after being told you did not need to wear your brace a couple days earlier. A tough senior swim season not being at 100 percent leading to being named Female Athlete of the Year. Making 17 saves in one game and then a PK the next. There is more. But these jump out as things that we will always keep in the front of our minds.

We LOVED watching you play.

We took a ton of pictures with the new camera. And more with our iPhones. You have some of the best senior pictures ever with your sports shots. Thanks Jason!!  

We created a ton of memories. We had some pretty awesome talks about life. We had a ton of laughs mixed in with some tears. We had a pretty good run at this student-athlete thing. And if Thursday is the last time you lace up your cleats or put the goggles on competitively, we just want you to remember one thing….

We LOVED watching you play.

Next Adventure

To say the past 2 months have been exciting would be an understatement to say the least.

Quit a job, give a speech at National Conference, Spring Break, Start a new Job, Anna starts the season as the Varsity soccer goalie, get asked to give not 1 or 2 more speeches because of the previous speech but rather 3, Anna becomes Prom Queen, Luke goes to his first HS sports meeting.

Whoa

But the new adventure for Anna and for Team Bedalov starts tomorrow at 9:15AM.  That is when the surgery is going to start to repair her torn ACL.  The first couple therapy sessions and the post surgery follow up visit are also already scheduled.

She knows that the hard part is front of her and that she controls the future.  Team Bedalov along with other family and friends will be a great support mechanism to encourage and challenge her, but this will be her greatest challenge in her life up to this point.

I often hear people say that adversity builds character.  But in this case, I know she is strong and determined. It is evident on how she has approached this entire process thus far and telling me that she would play soccer again next year as a senior. I see it every day.

Although I am sure she does not know what she is in for, I know her character is well in tact.  In this case, I think that this adversity is going to reveal more parts of Anna’s character to come to the surface and help define who she is as a young woman.

This is where we will be posting updates on her knee.  I told her that she should start an Instagram or Twitter account for her knew and she just laughed at me.

One thing is for sure….we are all looking forward to when we can see this again.

IMG_0276

Nothing to See Here

SOCCER+USA+010We can now all get back to our normal lives now that the FIFA World Cup is over.  Internet speeds will resume back to normal since no one will need to be streaming from work, not that anyone was doing that.

And I have determined that to get the most reaction out of my Facebook friends, all I need to do is either post something in support of soccer OR wear a pink shirt while eating cake.

All kidding aside, there are some “issues” that I have in my understanding of soccer.  I will admit that I was a casual fan until about 4 years ago when the kids started playing at the select level, so maybe these are known to others and I am just missing the boat.  Some of these, in my opinion, make it tough for casual American sports fans to convert over.

  • It is suppose to be a game of possession.   Which like American football and to some extent basketball are keys to the game.  If football, you will win the majority of the games that you control time of possession.  Minus an Oregon at the college level, if you control clock, you control the game.  But in soccer, the goalie punts the ball past mid field, with not guarantee that your team will retain possession.  Yes it can lead to a great scoring opportunity, but the risk/reward seems low.  If possession is key why wouldn’t the goalie just pass or throw it to a player on their team to maintain possession.
  • Here in the US, we are use to dominating our sport while allowing players from other countries play the sport here where the money is.  Basketball is mostly Americans, with overseas stars coming here to play.  Baseball is played here and some Latin American and Japanese players coming in to play.  Football, no comment.  Even Hockey, a sport created in Canada, plays the majority of its games in the US.  You have to go back to 1993 since a Canadian team won their sport.  Point being that the money in those sports is here in the US.  For soccer it is elsewhere, primarily over seas.  Americans struggle with that whether they want to admit that or not.
  • There are currently great players in the game: Ronaldo, Messi, Neyamr, Van Persie to name a few.  But just because you have a star on the team, it does not guarantee success.  Germany shut down Messi and completely limited his scoring chances.  The Netherlands did the same thing in the semi’s. If someone shut down LeBron the world would freak out that it was the greatest achievement of all time OR like in the case of MJ, the rules would be changed to prevent a “star” from being shut down again.
  • Soccer is a game dominated by Defense, with precision scoring when the opportunity arises.  A 1-0 World Cup Title game is called boring by an outsider, yet Matt Garza pitching a 1-0 complete game in July with nothing on the line is called “Brilliant” and Garza is “the Man”.

It will still take a long time for soccer to become really popular in the US.  There is no doubt in my mind.  There will be pockets and hotbeds of talent, like other sports.  But the World Cup will be like the Olympics here in the US – exciting for a stretch as it occurs and then interest will wane.

In the mean time I will support my kids play soccer because they love playing and I love watching them play.