Several weeks back, I was witness to one of the most historical moments in soccer history.
Allow me to set the stage…
The pitch was frozen solid and the winds howled like a restless beast. Angry clouds gathered above, like demons congregating before the kill. The ominous skies made weaker spectators scurry for the safety of their vehicles. I stood stoic and undeterred, watching intently as the Herndon Hula Hoops battled like ancient gladiators.
The Hula Hoops (team name changed to protect the innocent) were fighting for an undefeated tournament. This was the final game in a two-day battle royale for U-11 girls soccer supremacy. Herndon needed just one more goal to seal a legendary weekend. Hope was beginning to make way for doubt, as the obstacles seemed to grow.
The weather, the field conditions and a worthy opponent made another goal improbable. Facing off against FC Amazonia, the task was literally- tall. I’m pretty sure their defenders were all 6 foot. Their goalie? Well, she was at least 8′ 2″ with a 11′ wingspan. Hope Solo looked like a garden gnome when she stood beside her. (Solo was there to personally coach the gargantuan ball-stopper.)
Full time was fast approaching. The Hula Hoops earned a corner kick with just a few minutes to go in the match. The FC Amazonia defenders listened as their goal keeper shouted instruction. They set-up to her liking, preparing to defend the Hula Hoops futile attempt to penetrate their Amazonian wall.
The FC Amazonia players eyes were red with fury. Their fanged teeth dripped with ravenous slobber. Why should the Hula Hoops even attempt to kick the ball into that raging inferno? Defying all logic, the young Hula Hoop sent a soaring corner kick straight into the gauntlet.
Corrina Coolchick watched as it sailed majestically from her right foot.
The Amazonian wall looked perplexed. The balls trajectory wasn’t like anything they had ever seen before. Helplessly they watched as it angled toward a hungry Hula Hoop. Somehow #7 had wedged her way in between two 200 pound Amazonian monsters. With determination bleeding from her face, Carlita McDagger muscled towards the ball.
Suddenly her right foot, raring back like an archer’s bow- fired forward with the fury of 1,000 Robin Hood’s. Straight out of the air and off of her boot, she landed a precise one-touch blow. When Carlita McDagger struck the ball, it sounded like Big Foot drop-kicked a bass drum. The flailing Amazonian defense watched helplessly. It was up to the Jolly Green Giant goal keeper. Surely she could stop McDagger’s shot.
Surely she could NOT.
The ball was fired like a laser beam. Flames followed the ball like Haley’s comet. Sparks of fire crackled like a 4th of July fireworks show off of her cleats. The ball reached the net so fast that it was like 50,000 tiny Usain Bolt’s were inside the ball with cheetah’s strapped to their backs. (Thanks to the kid on that AT&T commercial for the cheetah bit.) GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAL!
(Andres Cantor just happened to be announcing the game. –for non-soccer people, he’s the legendary announcer who does this…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AMIrxx3gx8)
Flash bulbs went off around the soccer complex as Carlita McDagger, Corrina Coolchick and the rest of the Hula Hoops jubilantly celebrated. The Amazonian’s cried tears of defeat. Their goalie pounded the ground in agony. The blows to the turf registered a 4.2 on the Richter Scale. Amazonian tears mattered little to the Hula Hoops. They had seized victory from the ravenous jaws of defeat.
After Carlita scored, she celebrated with her teammates and then ran towards me; Juice McDagger-Proud Father. I was already busy talking to scouts from FC Barcelona’s women’s team who wished to sign Carlita to a $99 million per year lifetime contract. I broke from negotiations and hugged her with every ounce of my pride and joy bubbling over. The Hula Hoops win….Carlita McDagger, MVP.
Now, some of the facts above may have been slightly altered. It’s just how this dad remembers it.
When you have kids, their accomplishments amaze you everyday. From the smallest achievement to the greatest glories, everything is special. Carlita and her sisters make me proud everyday. Some days, they literally take my breath away. This was one of those days. Not because it was a sporting accomplishment, but because it was an accomplishment drenched in a lot of hard work and determination.
Carlita is a defender, she rarely gets the opportunity to score. You have to work hard and have a lot of skill to finish the way she did. While she wasn’t really playing against 6′ tall Amazon girls, the goal and the undefeated tournament were very real.
Moments like these are special for parents. We’ll tell our friends stories like the one above to make even the smallest accomplishments seem like our child reinvented the wheel. She didn’t reinvent the wheel that day, but Carlita did make her Dad feel absolutely wonderful. Proud doesn’t even come close to describing it.