Friday, May 02, 2008

One Final Game

If you know me then you know how much I love sports. As much as I am on cloud 9 when I get to attend a major college or professional game of any kind, there is no game that I get more joy out of watching than those in which my kids are playing. My son played baseball for years and now is on the varsity soccer, basketball and track teams here at Lititz Christian School. Fortunately, I still have two full years to watch him play.

But such is not the case with my daughter. During her High School career, Joy has played on the varsity soccer and volleyball teams. Her stint into sports really started as a social outlet. I think her most exciting part of playing volleyball her first year was in the fact that she got a team sweatshirt. But over the years, her athletic involvement grew from simply being recreational to being very competitive. It has been a joy (pun intended) to watch her develop her athletic abilities and her competitive spirit.

But this Friday night as she takes the field for Lititz Christian School’s final game of the regular season against Hershey Christian, it all comes to an end. This Friday is Senior game and will likely be the final time that I ever get to watch Joy play. Where did these last 4 years go? Check that…where did these last 18 years go? It really has been a wonderful ride!

I remember Joy’s first year on the soccer team as a freshman. We were playing Linden Hall and winning quite handily. As a result, Eric Lewis, who was the coach that year, put Joy in at goalie. Joy, who really had no clue back then what she was doing, made a very nice save knocking down the player from Linden Hall in the process. But instead of immediately putting the ball back in play like she should have, Joy stooped down to offer her apologies to her opponent who was still lying on the ground. I can still hear Coach Lewis yelling from the sideline, “Joy, kick the ball!”

Over the four years, though, Joy has become quite a bit more aggressive. The highlight for me in watching Joy play was this season in a game under the lights out at Conestoga Christian. Joy was playing wing on the defensive side. The girl who she kept going up against was just flat faster than she was. So how did Joy respond? Every time this girl got ahead of her, Joy simply pushed her, knocking her on her “keester” several times. I loved listening to the parents of the Conestoga players that were sitting behind me. They were beside themselves complaining about that #9 (Joy’s jersey number) and how brutal she was with all of her pushing. I have never been more proud of her. In my mind, if you’re not playing aggressive enough to get the opposing parents noticing you, then you’re not playing aggressive enough. By the way, she only got a whistle blown on her once that whole game (though she certainly deserved a few more whistles then that).

Friday afternoon I will watch my Joy play one final time. When the game is over another chapter will close. Hopefully it will include the Hershey parents complaining about #9 as well. But one thing is for sure, I wouldn’t trade the “joy” I have received from the hundreds of hours I have spent the last 4 years cheering for her on the sidelines for anything.
ADDENDUM: Due to Mt Calvary upsetting Bible Baptist and Lititz Christian defeating Hershey, Mt Calvary and LCS have ended the regular season in a tie for the final conference playoff spot and will play a one game playoff on Monday, May 5, beginning @ 4pm at Linden Hall in Lititz. The winner moves on to the quarterfinals on Tuesday. So I get to watch my Joy play at least one more game! Yahoo!

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