It’s soccer season right now and we have traveled to Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, twice a week, to night games, morning games, tailgates with so much food, a small Italian village could show up and we could feed them.
I have a Grand Canyon of gratitude watching Ally play soccer. It makes me feel like I could literally burst wide open and need an ambulance to bring me to Grace Memorial on Grey’s Anatomy. It’s not the usual pride a parent feels watching their kid on a field. This has to do with watching my kid on a field after not being on a field for two years. It has to do with the crushing blow of tearing her ACL senior year and the deep sadness that followed that event, the confusion, the pain, the surgery, the mental anguish, the endless rehab, the scar tissue, the wondering if she’d ever again play the sport she’d put enormous chunks of her life into, that she’d given up so much for, that she’d loved like a boyfriend. Nobody knew if she’d really make it back.
So, she worked. She battled. She pushed.
Still, she came up short freshman year and didn’t play during the season. Too much scar tissue dogged her with pain. Still we went to every game just to see her warm-up because seeing her run on a field is better than Caribbean blue water and if you know me for one second, you know I want to marry Caribbean blue water. Seeing Ally run with the ball at her feet lit us up, since we so intimately knew what it meant for her to be doing so. It mattered little that she wasn’t playing. She had fought. She was still fighting. It wasn’t her cleats we loved, it was her spirit.
And this year she plays. Her strong powerful legs run back and forth, and her eyes dart up and down the field assessing and strategizing. Her passes can look effortless, leaving me to wonder how they can make it across a field of opponents and find her teammates feet. Her mistakes cause us to gasp, but really, we just feel punch drunk that she is is out on that field, the place she has run a million physical and mental miles to get back to. Never matters whether she wins or loses. She’s already won.