Field of Dreams
May 10, 2009 is a Mother’s Day that I and all the mothers and fathers of the 95 Rush Soccer team will never forget. My fourteen year old daughter Hannah’s soccer team was in the state championship game that day. The game went into two five minute overtimes after a 1-1 tie. After the overtimes did not produce a winner, next came the penalty kicks. Each team walked slowly to midfield and sat down. Hannah’s team linked arms, walking out as one. Each team would choose five players who would try to score a goal while the opposing teams’ goalie tried to block it. The pressure was immense. I hid behind my oldest daughter Rachel, unable to watch.
Early on in Hannah’s soccer season, we moms started gathering to pray before each game. This being the state championship weekend was certainly no different. Throughout the weekend as we continued to win, our prayers had gotten more intense. The stakes got higher with each game. God has brought my daughter so far using her gift and love of soccer to mold her. Every parent on our team could tell a similar story. When Hannah first decided to play soccer at age seven, she asked, “What do I do?” We had never even seen a soccer game, so I replied, “Just kick the ball like everybody else.” when Hannah and I saw Mia Hamm play in Nashville, we were sold. The fever began. This led to many hours spent watching games, some good, some not so good. We have had our seasons of sitting on the bench, scoring the winning goal, overcoming feelings of inferiority, overcoming fears of joining new teams and meeting new teammates, the season that caused her to proclaim that she would never play soccer again, and …miracles that only God can do. Every parent of a sports playing child could share stories of horrible disappointments and thrilling victories.
One man believed in Hannah: Clovis Simas. He believed in all our girls even when they did not believe in themselves. This year’s new coach Chris Lean also saw something in them that they did not see: state champions. He pushed them hard, knowing that they were made of more than they had shown so far. To both of these men and to this year’s assistant coach Cheslie Tharpe, we are forever grateful.
As I waited for the penalty kick to go in or not, I and many other moms could no longer contain our emotions. Our team scored one, the opponents scored one. We missed and they missed. In our prayers, I had asked God to favor us. We did not deserve to win anymore than anyone else, but why not us? Someone had to win, why not our girls? We had asked God to take away the rainstorms that were headed our way, and we barely had showers all weekend long. One mom Meg Hall asked if we could pray that they would play better than they ever had. That weekend I had never seen our girls play with as much determination as they displayed. We were all just crazy enough to believe that they could win. After all, this team had never won a tournament, not one. How could we dare to believe that they could win the state? But with God, all things are possible, and we were asking Him to favor us.
As our girls sat along the middle of the field, they wiped away tears after each ball was kicked. It was too much for them also. Now, it was Anna Thomas’ turn. She slowly walked to her mark and the team stood up and linked arms. My husband turned to me and said, “If she hits this one, we win.” One last time, I prayed, “God, do something that can only be explained as something only You can do.” Anna kicked, and…it went in. “It should not have gone in,” Robert said, “but it did.” Unbelievable. We are the 2009 U14 State Champions. Field of dreams; make that, field of God’s favor.
Field of Dreams