gratitude-a-thon day 2075: dinner roll feet and the last day of soccer

Dinner rolls, right?

When Ally was born, her feet looked like little dinner rolls. You know, those slightly rectangular puffs of flour that make your mouth water and always come to the table of an old school restaurant, warm and just waiting to melt some butter. Those. Those were Ally’s feet. We couldn’t imagine how she could ever walk on those adorable little toes attached to dinner rolls, let alone play a sport.

First official rec. game.

But pretty soon after she walked, much to our amazement, she was kicking a ball. And it wasn’t long after that, that she fell in love with soccer. From her u5 town rec. league, to futsol, MPS club soccer and high school soccer, Ally kicked that ball with abandon and glee through Florida, England, Tanzania and Zanzibar, not to mention all over New England, New York and New Jersey.

The Lions with Coach Marie and Coach Kelly!

Of course, it wasn’t just the soccer that captured her heart, it was the friendships she made, the laughs, the snacks, the unbeatable camaraderie. And this, as I’ve said before, is the true gift of soccer, that has nothing to do with the ball, the goal or the field. And during her college career at Trinity, this is where Ally really excelled.

While Ally still has fierce soccer skills, college soccer is fast and furious. Playing time has been hard to get, but no matter, Ally made her mark by being the heart and soul of her team. She has welcomed every freshman team member, encouraging, supporting and making them laugh. She has worked hard to make her soccer sisters their best selves. She has had a positive attitude through some very tumultuous team politics. This, this is what I’m most proud of. And for me, this is what is most valuable in all she’s learned in the 17 years she’s been kicking a ball.

Under the lights at Boston University.
Last high school game.
BHS Playoffs. A very big deal!
Maybe 6th grade.

This weekend we celebrated at the Senior Game, held during homecoming. It was a sunny, beautiful day, with our friends and family. Jake came in from California,one of her biggest fans,  Uncle Frank, her unofficial coach for her whole life and my sister Joni, who still can’t understand off-sides, never mind that her husband, Frank is one of the foremost experts on soccer (an amazing sports writer) were there and have always been there. We went out to a special toast-filled, gift-laden dinner with our favorite players and parents and back to her house for some fun. It was perfect!

Last BHS game!

Today is the last game ever. Whether she plays or doesn’t means nothing. Her dad, who has been Ally’s driver and number one fan and soccer confidante, gave an eloquent toast at breakfast the morning after, which soothed our hangovers. He said, “Ally, I’m ready for soccer to be over. I needed it all those years when I couldn’t talk to you about girl things and periods and boys.  I could always talk to you about soccer. It was how we bonded. But now, you and I have so many other things to talk about, like politics and justice and the world,  I don’t need soccer anymore.” And that’s right. Ally used to be only about soccer, but now, she’s about so many other things. She’s so much more than just soccer.

The Daddy Toast at Rein’s Deli.

 

And so, I’m raising my coffee to my girl, here this morning. She has taught this non-team playing mom a lot. Grateful for all she’s sacrificed, all she’s learned, and all she’s become.

 

(You’re so lucky my iphoto is not working, or this post would be a hundred pictures longer!)

The biggest supporters.

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 413: the girl has balls

IMG_0336
After-goal glow. Ally’s the one with her whole face visible. The happiest one!

To be a good soccer parent, 9/10th’s of the law states “NO GLOATING. EVER.” But just for today, just this once, I’m going to have to break that law. So throw me in jail. Go head.

Yesterday Ally’s team was playing the rival team of Newton North. Last year they won the State Championship, and crushed us. They’re always, in fact, crushing us. What with their giant, gorgeous new school, and their great sports teams, they are usually, in all sports, the team to beat. Anyway, this is always a big game. And it’s always even bigger for Ally because the coach of Newton North has been her Club Team coach for the past three years. It was super beautiful out, I crutched myself there, along with the boy’s Varsity soccer team, and a pretty big crowd of parents and kids. N.N. had a slew of graduating seniors last year, so we knew their team was not going to be in its usual kick-ass form, and  with our awesome new coach, and a bunch of strong new freshman, we had our fingers crossed.

We dominated, but we couldn’t seem to score. Our goalie got knocked out by a deep cut, which required stitches, so we had to use a field player as goalie (the other goalie had a possible concussion). Things were tense, when Miss Ally Lansbury made a left-footed goal. OH YES SHE DID! The crowd went wild and I totally wanted to abandon my boot and dance, but realized that would not be a smart move, so instead I screamed more loudly than I ever have. In my life. Like, ever. I tell you, the parents in Newton who weren’t at the game, must have heard me. (I’m hoarse today). For a moment the world actually stopped. Seriously, I’m fairly certain if you check your watch, it is exactly one minute slow today. It was just a perfect confluence of things that came together to make a memory that will be with my family until the day we breathe our last breaths, and then some.

Here’s why it was extra special cool: Ally’s Club coach has always given her feedback about “finishing,” that she’s a great player, but she has to finish. So the fact that she did and that it “finished” his team was just as good as it gets. Ally’s goal was the only goal of the game, which, if you haven’t already put two and two together, means we won!

So, sorry for gloating, but that one perfect moment is too good not to share. It’s funny how sometimes things come together like they did yesterday. And when they do, you gotta take notice, on account of how much they don’t. So, Gooooooo Warriors. And congratulations to my rock star daughter.  OH YES I DID.