“‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” -Alfred Lord Tennyson
Congrats boys soccer on an amazing season. In the end, the boys fell to Holtville 2-1 in sudden death overtime, finishing as CIF Division 4 Runner-up. The team finished the season 22-6-2. They were City League Champions, senior captain Aweyso Aweyso was League Player of the Year, and six other players were awarded All-League selections.
I try to keep a reporter’s mind and attitude when I write these articles for my teams at Crawford High School-facts, figures and information. But when I sat down to write this post, I was still pretty broken up about the loss. It just didn’t seem right to not express the true nature and feelings of this season.
You see it wasn’t just a championship or a loss, but the end of something truly special and amazing. It was a season which the young men who made up the boys soccer team won’t ever forget.
The team got together way back in November and they decided on season goals with optimism, hope and determination. During the season, the team became a family. They spent time together on the weekends, the coaches took them to see other soccer games, they spent long days together during tournaments and game days. They became a group of brothers, even though their backgrounds and cultures were very different. Many of the boys spent their lunch time in my classroom; I became a sort of team mom. Spending time with the team was always entertaining and well-spent. My son became the ball boy and attended many of the games at my side. For his club team, he chose to be number 9 in honor of his favorite player–Aweyso.
As the season went on, the coaches and I knew that this team was very special. They had the type of chemistry and camaraderie on the field that made people pay attention. What made me even prouder as an athletic director was their humility. They played with honor on the field. Competitors and coaches of teams that we played would comment on how humble our players were. We had a roster of 20 during the regular season. There were starters and players that played support roles on the bench, but even those players were amazing. They supported their team, they never complained or demanded playing time. Riding the bench is never fun, but these players did this with honor and dignity. They supported their brothers in the starting eleven.
The goals set back in November were visited often, the players keeping in mind where they wanted to be at the end of the season. They knew that they wanted league, but their biggest desire and hope was to capture the CIF championship. As we made it into playoff competition, we were elated, but the coaches and I started to realize how fast this dream season could come to a close. No one wanted it to end, and the team played with that in mind every time they took the field.
The boys played great games in the quarterfinals and semifinals, reaching the CIF finals, where we faced Holtville. The ASB had arrived early and decorated the stands with posters and flags from all the countries our boys represented. There was excitement and pride in the air. The game was scoreless the first half, when the teams took the field the second half, Holtville scored first, but our boys rallied and tied the game. When regulation time ended, we knew that we were entering sudden death overtime. In what seemed like mere seconds, the game was decided. In one moment we were on a scoring drive ready to take the championship, and fifteen seconds later we were devastated as Holtville scored the winning goal. As the coaches and I walked around the field reassuring our players and encouraging them to take the line to receive their runner-up trophy, there was an immense feeling of loss.
Athletes who have experienced making it to that level of competition know this empty feeling all too well. What you wanted was in your grasp, but at the last second you failed to grab it. It’s hard to comprehend that the season is over. Even at my age and experience, tears flowed today at the feeling of loss—and I wasn’t even a player on the team.
But in the end, after the heartbreak and the sadness and the loss, I have to remind myself and help these remarkable young men understand that they are champions. They made it to the San Diego CIF Championships. Even though, our season is over, it was a season in which memories and life-long friendships were forged. I’m sure that they will retell the story of this season for years to come, and I hope that one day soon they are able to reflect and understand how truly special and incredible it was.
The Crawford boys soccer players can hold their heads up high and know that they brought pride and honor to our school.
I started this article with a quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” These boys loved their team, and we loved this team. Yes the loss hurts, but I wouldn’t trade it for the amazing season and memories that were made. “All-in” was the motto for this season, and it pretty much sums up everything.