by Logan Tyler
There’s a picture of me at my mom’s house taken when I was about 4 or 5. I was playing soccer in a park in West Virginia, my purple jersey – we were creatively named the Purple Grapes – swallowing my tiny body. The ball is at my feet, it’s almost bigger than me, and a girl is next to me in pursuit. My head is down and my leg is hovering over the ball, my eyes laser focused on the ground in front of me.
Seconds after this picture was taken I more than likely tripped over the ball, or my shorts, – they probably both happened, but that’s not the point. The point is that I fell in love with soccer when I was 4 years old and I loved it so much I decided to play it in elementary school, middle school, club, high school, and then eventually college – soccer taking up every minute of my free time for most of my life.
The game has taken me to new places, introduced me to thousands of amazing people, taught me valuable lessons, and a million things in between. After we lost in the quarterfinals to Washington & Lee, I didn’t want to take off my cleats. I wore them on the entire bus ride home, not taking off any piece of my uniform until I absolutely had to in the locker room when we got back. I was trying to deny the fact that I just ended the soccer career I’d had since I was 4.
It’s a hard feeling to come to terms with the fact that I’ll never again have practice everyday after class in the fall, ride the bus to away games, experience preseason (no matter how much I hated it during), but, most importantly, play the sport I love with the people I love. However much I wish I could go back and experience my 4 years here all over again, I can look back at all the memories I’ve amassed and remember my soccer career appreciatively.
I will be able to look back at the experiences I’ve made, and the lifelong friendships, for the rest of my life. I am a firm believer that sports teach you the most important lessons you can take with you in your everyday life outside the court, track, pool, or field.
So, I want to say thank you to the game of soccer for teaching me life’s greatest lessons. Soccer has transformed me, and my life, in countless ways and brought me to places, and people, I will love forever. Although a lot of it was tough, whenever I needed to remind myself why I stuck with soccer, I pictured the little blonde girl in the Purple Grapes uniform with the ball at her feet and the look of determination in her eyes, and I played for her.