Sarah has spent the last two weeks in a period of indecision. She has been struggling to decide if she wants to return to her soccer team for the spring season. It had already been decided this would be their last season together as a team. Sarah has been with this team for over four years. She had created a lot of found memories with this group of girls. Her coach is the only soccer coach she has ever really known. The dynamic of the team has changed somewhat over the years, kids have come and gone. Despite that, it seems like they have been together forever even though Sarah is one of two girls from the original team.
I was really surprised by her indecision. Sarah is anything but undecided. The final outcome though didn’t surprise me at all.
Sarah wanted to ride it out to the end. She wanted the final hurrah. It saddens me that this dynamic group of strong, independent fierce young girls will no longer be battling it out on the muddy fields. It seems unimaginable not to have our twice a year-end of seasons together. No more bon fires, hay rides or trips together for soft serve ice cream after a game in the hot sun. This final season was sure to be fun. Right?
Despite it being the last season, the coach was adding players to the roster, increasing the number of practices and stressing the level of intensity and commitment required for the last season. We went from one to two and finally three practices or games that conflicted with swim practice. Because Sarah was still able to get her swim time in we always went to the soccer practices. When the coach added the last practice time Sarah was truly conflicted.
Yesterday was D-Day. Having played a pretty decent Futsal game on Saturday even scoring, I was fairly certain she would decide to continue playing soccer.
I sat her down at noon. We had a mandatory team meeting at 4. I needed her decision. She looked at me and for the final time said “mom, I don’t know what I want to do”. I refused to make this decision for her so I said “Sarah, skip spring and let’s regroup in the fall.” Her response. Fine. I typed an email to her coach and handed her my phone. I asked for her to read it. She added one line:
This is Sarah. I will miss everyone. I hope you have a fun season. Love ya.
And then looked at me and said should I hit send.
I had to hide my emotion as I said yes. That was the response I needed. She needed to hit send. And she did without hesitation. It was heart breaking but also a total relief. The decision was made. By her.
I have had some time now to think about it and I think we are both mourning the loss of what no longer is. The team she knew and loved has grown from baby faced first graders to preteen fifth grader. They have grown, matured and become so much. I will forever be grateful to her coach and the wonderful group of girls and parents for all of the wonderful memories we have made. But it is time to move on.
We are looking for a new team in the fall. Sarah will be in middle school. She is such a strong young woman. But also my baby. I will always protect her and I think this break will be good for her. She needs to be Sarah the soccer player, not Sarah, one of the many Red Hots. She is ready to stand on her own. I am proud of her.