On Friday afternoon St. Joseph's Regional Jr. High girls' soccer team were ready to go to battle.
Under the mentorship and coaching of Emily Moreau, these powerful players bonded and competed all season long with grace under pressure, and this game would be no different.
Every single one of these girls headed toward the ball and the opposing players with fierce determination, strength, skill, flexibility, and stamina the entire game. I have NEVER seen anything like it! They passed to one another, worked together, encouraging each other on. As I watched from the sidelines, I realized that these girls were deeply invested in each others' success. Meredith would not sit the bench even with a bubble-wrapped cast, Ali decided to head right back into the game after having the wind knocked out of her, Bella cheered for her teammates with tears streaming down her face as she elevated her pulled hamstring. Orange jerseys raced up and down the field, kicking, wrestling the ball from the red-shirted opponents. Addie, Torrey, Sydney, Maria, Dani...they had a single focus. Ball in net.
After more than an hour of play, the team conceded and Chester Academy claimed the Championship. As soon as the final whistle blew, a sea of orange charged across the field to the goal Kayla Sisson through herself across countless times during this game. They surrounded her and clung to each other with pride for a game they refused to give away.
Though there were tears shed for the trophy that wouldn't be theirs this year, there were far more consoling hugs and smiles for this is a team of winners. Gracefully and with dignity, they congratulated the winning team and accepted the runner up medals from Coach Emily.
This display of grace under pressure is who we want our kids to be. They stayed in the game until the last note of the whistle, they supported their teammates, they fought hard for something and they survived not getting it. In life, when we teach our kids to lose with grace and they become resilient. They will experience harder losses than this one and when they do, they will have faith that they can rise together as they did on Friday afternoon.
I couldn't be prouder of you girls.