Sorry it has taken me so long to post this entry. I decided to take a week off and go to Tulsa to enjoy Thanksgiving and NOT think about soccer.
The annoying thing is, I discovered instantly that the more you try NOT to think about something, the more it is steadily on your mind. So it has been for me with soccer.
On Wednesday I began my seven hour drive to Tulsa. I had planned ahead and prepared a playlist of new songs that I could jam to distract me from any attempt at thinking. Unfortunately, I could only afford about an hour’s worth of songs (iTunes upped the price to $1.29!). I was then forced to turn it over to the mercy of the radio. You know the saying that you shouldn’t listen to the radio after a breakup, because inevitably every song will serve as a reminder? Well, I think the same holds true for any sad event in your life.
EVERY song, no matter what station, reminded me of soccer. Call me pathetic, but its true.
Hip-hop: “Oh my momma. On my hood. I look fly, I look good” (this year’s warm-up cd). Next!
Oldies station: “I wear my sunglasses at night” (old warm-up cd and really? That song hasn’t been heard on radio waves for a good 10 years and you throw it at me now!!). Next!
Country: “Take you for a ride on my big green tractor” (Amber’s ringtone). Next!
Latino: “GOOOAAAALLLL!” is the only thing I could think of over the Spanish.
After this depressing series of snippets I decided that perhaps some Milk Duds would cheer me up. As I began to pull off the highway into a Shell station, naturally my mind processed: Shell=Ocean=Florida=FSU=Ugh! Surely there is an Exxon or Conoco coming up, I can wait…
At this stage, I knew I was condemned to think about soccer the next six hours, so I figured I might as well make it productive. Why not work on my blog? And you thought texting and driving was dangerous!
As I sat and pondered what I should write, the only thought that kept crossing my mind was “Thanks”. Thanks for the opportunity. Thanks for the support. Thanks for the lessons learned. Thanks for the memories. And that’s all I could think of, over and over again.
From there I let my mind wander. I passed a donut shop and thought of the donut-eating contest Lisel, Kelly, and Mautz had on peer 39. I saw a red ribbon tied to a fence along the highway and thought about singing the 12 Days of Christmas on the bus. I passed a steakhouse and relived me and Ketch meeting the Mayor of Baton Rouge, in our sweats! I stopped at a gas station (Chevron, not Shell) and as I passed by the bags of ice I thought about preseason in Florida last year when we made make-shift ice baths out of baby pools and had six girls huddled in each as they poured in bag after bag of ice (yes, Hooper was the one standing outside the pool with a toe gingerly dipped in). I saw a Colorado license plate and thought about our comeback win against them at the end of the Big 12 season last year. My Ipod randomly shuffled to James Taylor’s “Carolina in My Mind” and I thought of our Elite Eight battle my sophomore year against UNC, which will go down as the best soccer game I was ever a part of. I drove by a waving American flag and reminisced over all the times I stood out on the field, under the lights, butterflies in my stomach as I saluted our great country with my teammates…
Yes, I thought a lot about soccer. But, as much as I hadn’t wanted to think about it when I started my journey, I caught myself smiling, almost laughing when I stepped out of my car in Tulsa. I’ve had a great four-and-a-half years here. When I look back, I appreciate every minute.
I was sitting in Barnes and Noble finishing this blog when a man came up to me. As usual I was wearing sweats, but not one item said A&M soccer, so I was quite taken aback when he knew who I was. He kindly told me how much he’d enjoyed following our team this year, how much he liked reading the blog, and how proud we had made him to be an Aggie grad. Fortunately I had just been getting up, because something he said, his sincerity, struck a chord in me and I started to tear up.
Yes, I am going to miss this place. I am going to miss practice every day at 1 p.m. I am going to miss competing on Friday nights under the lights in front of thousands of fans. I am going to miss the sport. But most of all, I am going to miss the people. There is something special about being an Aggie, and to be fortunate enough to play in front of the 12th Man for as long as I did was a dream come true. It’s hard to say goodbye, but I can’t wait until next year, when I am locked away in some far-off cubicle, to hide under my desk, pull out my iphone, and cheer on the girls as they chase another championship!
Thanks for the memories!
Final Freshman Words of Wisdom:
At the hotel in Tallahassee, Fla., I ran down to the lobby to grab some coffee. When I asked my roommate whether she wanted caffeinated or decaffeinated, she shrugged her shoulders and asked, “What is the difference between them anyway?” Well one, shockingly, is caffeinated, and the other, as chance would have it, is DE-caffeinated…