rambles on ciu sports

painful perspective.

our second game last night beat me up a little. i was hurting pretty bad last night, but today i can barely move.

have you learned anything new yet today? let me help you out. here are some things you may not have realized you can’t do with only one working thumb and a neck that can’t turn.

1. driving.
2. washing dishes.
3. putting my hair in a ponytail.
4. brushing my hair(it’s easy enough to do one-handed, but it hurts my neck).
5. lifting heavy pans of food.
6. typing(i’d never realized that i always hit the space bar with my left thumb, never my right. it’s a difficult habit to break).
7. brushing my teeth(again, that somehow puts pressure on my neck…i think i must work too hard at it).
8. drinking without a straw(leaning my head back hurts too)
9. running(who knew the shock moves all the way from the ground to my feet to my neck and shoulders?).
10. opening doors(there are a surprising number of simple things that i automatically do with my left hand, considering that i’m right-handed).

but just like how my heart and lung issues have gotten me into the habit of thanking God every time i manage to take a deep breath, this too is showing me little things i never thought to be thankful for.

it makes me feel really sad for that Soul Surfer girl and other people like her. at least i have both my arms even if i can’t use the thumb on one of them for a few weeks. =]

rambles on ciu sports

happy kinds of pain.

battle wounds that make me happy:

-finding a bruise exactly between my ankle and the center of the top of my foot because i’ve been doing my punts perfectly.

-finding bruises on my shoulder, side and hip because i’ve been diving right.

-breaking my finger because i smacked the ball out of the goal with one hand.

-getting a concussion because i headed the ball away with my face.

battle wounds that make me mad:

-breaking my thumb by smashing it into the ground while crawling after a ball that proceeds to roll right past me.

-pulling my shoulder by reaching too far for a ball that chips over my head.

-getting a concussion from someone stepping on my head as they make a shot.

but, bright side up either way? i get all of them by having fun, and they all make great stories. =)

just a thought. · rambles on ciu sports

oh wait, i DO love running!

if you know me at all, you know that i hate getting sick or hurt, and when i do, it takes about a 14 on a 1-10 pain scale to get me to admit it. i’ll go on a youth retreat with a 101 fever, stay at camp for a week with the flu, dance for a year with tendonitis, and play soccer on a sprained ankle, with a broken finger, with a dislocated thumb, with a concussion…you get my point. i keep on trucking. there’s too much fun in life to put it on pause.

due to my need to be in constant motion, on the rare times when i get sick enough or hurt bad enough that i have to stop, i go crazy.

this is most obvious right now, because in my right mind, i would never miss running.

last thursday i rolled my ankle. and being me, i ran 3 more miles and pretended nothing happened. i woke up the next morning hurting worse, woke up saturday, felt fine and raced, woke up on sunday hurting again, woke up on monday and couldn’t walk.

so now we’re here…and ALL i want to do is run.

i think i may love this.

a month ago i would have been thrilled to have an excuse to be lazy, this morning i cried because i couldn’t do mile repeats.
every other race, i’ve at some point wished i was dead, and been happy to be done with it at the end. last saturday though, with every mile i felt better and better, and at the end, i was sad and wanted to do it all over again.
last monday(like a week and a half ago), i ran five miles, on my own, just for fun. FOR FUN. running is not fun. is it?

when i so reluctantly signed my commitment forms on the last day of school, i told myself i was not going to become one of those crazy people who runs when they aren’t 1-being made by a coach, 2-playing some sport with a point, or 3-involved in a heist.

oops. guess i lost that bet. but the good thing about making bets with yourself is that if you look at it the right way, you always win. so i’m always happy. =]

rambles on ciu sports · stories about memories

a happy day on a sad anniversary.

three years ago today was the saddest day of my life.

you know how there are certain memories where you can replay a whole hour of your life like a movie in your head? this time in 2009 is one of them.

life changes fast. at 9:41 am, i was happy and motivated and determined to fix things, start doing work, eat again, find some friends, and make college work for me.

at 9:42, the phone rang. it was my mom.

whenever she has bad news, she always very cautiously asks “how ya doin’?” i guess she likes to know whether she’s making things worse, or knocking me off of cloud nine.
this time i burst into a happy ramble about my great weekend and all the studying i was about to get done.
still in her careful voice, she says “well i’m really glad for you…”
i ask her if she needs something.
she says, “well, i have to tell you something.”
i knew what she meant. i just asked when it happened. she told me it was the day before.

9:44 am. in a matter of 3 minutes, life as i knew it ended.

last night i went to bed thinking about how badly i didn’t want to run. when the person who would be the proudest of me is gone, nothing seems to matter.

my granddad thought the sun rose and set on my mundane life. he never let me quit anything, and he was always on my side. i get my fierce loyalty from him. if i were to get last in a race, i know he’d be convinced that something was wrong with the course, or someone else had cheated. he’d never admit that i’m not good or suggest that i didn’t try my best or didn’t want it enough. he’d find some reason to call me the best on the team; if nothing else he’d say i was the prettiest.

this morning as i got up at 4:30, i fought away the ache around the edge of the gaping, never-to-be-full-again crater in my heart with the idea that i would run every one of those five thousand meters for him. and i would smile the entire time, because he loved it when i smiled.

the last time i saw him was about a month before he died. it was a week before i left to start school. i knew he wouldn’t be around much longer. i was sitting with him one afternoon for over an hour just talking with him, and he asked me why i didn’t smile as much anymore. i lied and said i hadn’t realized that; i didn’t want to tell him how sad i was. he said he wanted me to stop looking upset all the time.

and then he told me something i’ll never forget.

“you need to always smile. because you’re my happy girl, and you make everybody happy when they look at you. so don’t you keep that sad face on. right?”
i’d never thought about that before. but i liked the idea of making other people happy. so ever since then, even when i have to fake it, i try to let everyone else see a smile on my face.

every time people at camp comment that their day gets better when they see me because i’m always happy, i feel like i’m making granddad proud.
and every time someone at school asks if i’m tired or something, i feel like i’m letting him down. i don’t make many people happy here.

today i ran my race imagining him cheering me on. i don’t know much of what he looked like when he was younger, so it made it funnier picturing 89 year old him running beside me. and i remembered something i wrote to myself during soccer season about the people who had graduated.

just because they’re gone doesn’t make the things they said while they were with you any less true.

i knew what all he used to tell me. and i knew that no matter how i did today, if he were here, he’d tell me i was perfect. any little victories would be like gold medals. and when i thought of that, i was suddenly free to enjoy running. every little mistake stopped mattering. 2 seconds slower than i expected on the second mile, who cares. second to last on the team, no big deal. i got 54 seconds faster than my last race, and that was all that counted.

plus, someone told me that it’s encouraging to watch me run because i’m smiling anytime they see me.

granddad, wherever you went, i hope you were able to hear them say that. i miss you, my biggest fan. i’m lost and weird without you here.

rambles on ciu sports

soccer vs. cross country.

obviously, soccer wins hands down no question. diving all over the ground knocking a ball away from me is so much more fun and less pointless than just plain running.
but running does win on a few small points.

1. too much of my team depends on me/none of my team depends on me.
soccer involves 5 people looking to me to keep them from losing. i’m the only person on the field who can do what i can do. sure, i have defenders in front of me, but it’s a much bigger deal for the ball to get past me than it is for anyone else. no one says after a score “that defender back there let that one in.” it’s ultimately the goalie’s fault.
no one needs me in cross country. i run my race, they run theirs. it doesn’t matter to anyone else whether i finish in 22 minutes or 30. i can’t let anyone down. i feel so much more free that way.

2. there is only one way to look at things/i choose whether i won or lost.
in soccer, if we lose, well, we lose. there’s nothing else to say.
cross country gives me all kinds of safety nets. if i don’t win my race(HA), i can at least get a better time than my last one. if i don’t get a better time, i can at least have maybe run one of my miles faster than my last. and then if none of my personal goals happened, then our team can either win or place higher than last time. really the only way to fail is to quit, so i’m in total control of my success. just finishing counts as winning to me.

3. eight hundred things to remember/one thing to do.
soccer makes me think too much. i have to focus on so many things at once and make so many decisions so fast.
you can’t forget what to do in a race; all you have to do is run. yeah, there’s all that stuff about pacing and form and junk, but you only really really concentrate on that in practice. i don’t think when i race; i just run. the only thing i really worry about is passing people, and staying with the people who pass me. which doesn’t require thinking; it’s just more running. thinking takes energy, and it takes all the energy i have to run 3 miles, so i don’t think.

but. despite the few things that running has going for it, i’m ready to throw myself in front of a soccer ball again. my hands are itching for my gloves.

rambles on ciu sports · SOCB's · stories about nothing and everything

a soccer-related stream of consciousness.

1. when people constantly refer to me as “keeper” i always wonder if they’re trying to sound all soccer-smart, or if they just can’t remember my name. ;]
2. grass+sweat+dirt=possibly my favorite smell in the world. any one of them by themselves isn’t good at all(except for grass. i like that), but all together makes me so so happy. but it may not beat campfires.
3. we have our first game in 8 days!!!!!!!! last year it took us five weeks just to get that scrimmage versus pfeiffer and coker(where it was freezing cold and raining all day, i played for nine minutes, we got slaughtered in both games, and then we went to that chinese place and elizabeth got lost, and it was the best day ever), and like two months before the season started. i’m scared…but so excited. we’re gonna have fans again!!
4. i’m the only goalie now…and while i LOVE getting to play all the time and never having to take turns with anyone…i don’t like not having a safety net. if you’ve seen me play, you know how i operate: the first goal sets the stage for the whole game. if i block it, i’ll be ok. if i let it in, i lose it. from then on i will let them ALL in. and the more i miss the worse i get. so i’m scared to not have anyone to clean up my mess.
5. i do feel like i’m doing way better this year though. goalie-wise at least. that happens whenever i’m around people who haven’t seen me play before. not sure why…i guess i’m not afraid of them. they don’t have any expectations of how i’ll play, whereas everyone else just expects me to usually suck and be really entertainingly excited when i accidentally make a save. with new people, i just play, and i’m good.
turnover isn’t always such a bad thing.
6. regan and jessie and paulina, I MISS YOU GUYS! we really need yall…and you wouldn’t have to feel half as bad for me anymore cuz i can block your shots now. =]
7. i miss coach paul…our new coach is great and all, and i’m excited about him(he was a GOALIE. i finally have someone who knows how to train me!) but just like when old camp staffers leave, it’s just not the same.

rambles on ciu sports

curtain call.

i love everything about the ciu bowl. i’ve been counting down to this since february.
i love being part of something.
i love that we go to such a small school that every single person on campus gets so excited about this one game.
i love that so many alumni want to come back and play.
and i love that no matter who wins, everybody is so happy for each other and has so much fun.(yeah yeah, i know i’ve never been on the losing side. but did you see how crazy i went when allison got that touchdown? imagine how happy i’d be if they got to win!)
i talk a good game. i say i play to either win, or do something that people remember me for. but i forget both of those when the actual game comes. when i see all the things we did over and over in practice til we were ready to cry suddenly working, and everybody’s cheering for everybody else, and dr beyer is making everybody laugh, i can’t think about anything but just playing, and all that together is just so, much, FUN that it’s impossible to get mad at anybody or care who wins. it’s like there’s enough positive energy in the air that it could cure cancer and it’s the BEST feeling. ever.
and in a way, i feel like we’re all just acting. we step in this time warp that makes 48 minutes go by in a heartbeat, put on big tough scary football player faces, and we play the game. we’re in character. no pain you cause your roommate or best friend matters; you’re playing your part.
but the second it’s over, we’re us again. everybody’s hugging each other and everybody’s happy, winners and losers alike. and i look around, and notice who i was playing against(i never remember during the game, i just see a blur of people and know not to let any of them near the quarterback), and just laugh. because a)i don’t usually spend much time in real life visualizing how to knock courtney bennett off her feet, 2)who KNEW all these girls that i see every day could play such good football? and mostly, 3)because i didn’t see a single girl on the north not cheering for us when we won. without even a second thought, every one of them came running and hugging us.
i felt really stupid at first after the big deal i made about having to win, and now i kinda wish we had lost just to see if i really would have gotten upset, or if i would have been excited for my friends on the other team who practiced just as much as we did and also wanted to win. but i feel like it would have been the second.
yeah, i’m super competitive. winning does make me happy. but seeing how much my ciu family loves each other makes me happier.
one last thought: i know i opened with saying i loved everything about this, but i lied. i HATE how short it has to be…i mean, i’m playing, and everything’s going so fast, and i just don’t have TIME to process everything and remember it. just three more minutes per quarter, all we’re asking here.
now i feel like the day after christmas. but it’s so worth it. =]

rambles on ciu sports

8 and 9: hold onto that feeling.

(tradition requires us to listen to don’t stop believing when we drive down the boulevard after a game. and so my favorite line in the song seemed fitting for my last-post-of-the-season title.)
the blue part is about tonight’s game.
the red is about the season in general.
the green is my shout outs to any of our fans, and a few specific people.
so if you don’t want the full extent of my rambling, pick what you most wanted to hear about and read that color.
ps, whoever’s camera has the pictures we took between the two games, please facebook them!

people are raising their expectations, go on and feed em, this is your moment, no hesitations.
coach reminds us all the time that we would be unstoppable if we would jump right to being awesome and not wait until we needed to make an epic comeback. not that we don’t make them, but he would rather them not be necessary.
on the one night we needed it the most, plus the day we had more people who came out to see us than ever, we finally figured it out.
tonight was the best two games we’ve played all season. it’s like everyone just suddenly clicked and suddenly i understood everything coach has been telling us, because it was all happening. we were amazing.
and for the first time that i’ve ever admitted it, i was good. coach was right the whole time. we had this conversation one day in practice. he asks me(remember to imagine the accent)”why are you so afraid?” and i told him i had too many things to remember(sam had taught me a lot of new stuff that day that made sense in my head but i couldn’t do them yet). so he says, “do not think. do not be scared. you know how to play. so play!”
and so i played tonight. the good goalie deep in the back of my head never got scared away once. (i’m actually starting to wonder if that and me are the same thing)maybe there is something to this whole “just be confident” deal after all.
and when we won, and we did our thank-the-fans run for the last time, i considered it a little hug from God that i was able to do a cartwheel even with my finger.

for the first time in such a long, long time, i know i’ll be okay.
this whole season was just one big surprise. it’s kind of a funny story how i ended up deciding to play, but it also makes me sound really pathetic, so i’ll make you come ask about it instead. but anyways. i didn’t expect to like it much, or be good at it, or to learn much non-soccer-related from it. but i did. all three. God took my “i wanna be special, so i need to be part of something big” attitude and turned it into a “wow, i get to encourage people when i’m not playing and be a light to these crazy 30 year-olds while i am, thanks God” one pretty unexpectedly. i got so used to sitting on the bench and having fun there that i almost didn’t want to play tonight. (well, ok, that’s a lie. i wanted more than anything to play this time since it was my last chance, but being on the side in this game was more fun than being on the side in any other game)
i didn’t have a clue in the world what i was getting into. but honestly, it was exactly what i needed.
i’m okay again because of soccer. there’s a sentence i never thought i’d say.

i’m not in it to win it; i’m in it for you.
to our most wonderful, hilarious, ever-loyal and supportive fans who love us whether we win or lose: you’re the reason i wanted to play in the first place, and still my favorite thing about being a part of this. thank you for being so awesome every single week, for making me feel un-invisible, for so nicely ignoring my breakdown in game 5 and still telling me afterwards that i did great, for making such a big deal over the tiniest little good things i did, and for making it much more fun to spend 90% of the season on the bench.
to sam and justin: thank you. thank you. thank you. like 19 more times. you guys honestly taught me everything. sam, thanks for being the best superfan ever, and justin, thanks for teaching me that i’ve been playing for 25 years. ;]
to coach paul: you’ve done so much for all of us and i’m SO thankful that i got to have you as my coach. thank you so much for letting me play, always encouraging me, and reminding me to smile(haha).
it seems i’m getting closure somehow
a flicker of peace that i’ve finally found
thank you for believing in me now
cuz i do need it. 

rambles on ciu sports

7: us.

(no, i am not posting regina spektor lyrics, even though i do like that song[but i liked her before i heard it, i was not one of those that watched 500 days of summer and then decided i was a fan].)
rabbit trail over. ANYWAYS.
honestly, i don’t have much to say about the actual game. it wasn’t that exciting(we were never behind and there weren’t many fans, and both us and the other team just weren’t super energetic) but we did play well and as long as we won, it doesn’t matter. and holy CRAP paulina, FOUR goals. so proud. and jamee was on fire to where i didn’t even want to sub for her, because i knew we were better off this way(proved it when i let three goals past in five minutes…but we’re forgetting about that). but this particular game isn’t really where my mind is right now. i mostly can’t stop thinking about our team.
i love us. i love winning together and i love losing together(ok. i don’t love it. we’ll just say i don’t mind it too terribly.) as long as we’re “us”, everything is fine.
when we first started, i saw twelve really really awesome players(and one eager but absolutely crappy wannabe player[me! none of yall who may be reading this. calm down.]) as in, individually, everybody was great. at the beginning, in practices and even in our first games(that freezing cold, pouring rainy day at coker), we were still individuals. not that everyone wasn’t trying to work together. it just took a while to mesh.
tonight, i didn’t see those twelve. i saw one awesome team. while there were some great things that people did on their own, i mostly just saw a whole lot of unity.WE won that game. there wasn’t one person we could give the credit to. it was all of us. and we won it for God. my favorite thing about coach paul is how focused on Christ he is. and he makes sure we’re keeping our priorities straight too.
as we were all in our huddle afterwards, and coach was giving us our usual speech, i looked around the circle and it started really hitting me that we won’t be “us” for very long. sure, about half of us will play again next year, but some of us are leaving. there will never be the same us.(at this point, that and the fact that we just won were all combining and fixing to get me crying real bad, so i stopped thinking)
we have two more games to play together as us. and we are gonna win them, because we have to, because we want it more than any of the others, because we’ve earned it, and because we’ll never all be playing together again, and everyone loves happy endings.
i know i’m not qualified to say this since i’m so soccer retarded, but yall are the best. (yall look more like the guys on tv than all the other teams do) i may not believe in my goalie skills,(cuz that’s like believing in santa claus) but i believe in us. and we CAN do what we did tonight again.
i LOVE you guys and i can’t wait for us to win the league!

rambles on ciu sports

5 and 6: "what did you learn about God from that?"

[this has the potential to seriously frustrate anyone who is currently angry about the game. and i feel terrible for feeling so positive when everyone else thinks it sucks, i promise i’m not being that obnoxious fake sunshiny person. i mean all i’m saying; the annoying people are just desperate to put happy thoughts out. so you should read it anyways, because it might just cheer everybody up, and i just like to be read…haha.]

all i am is thankful.
anyone who knows anything about me will be shocked to hear this coming from me after we just had our first loss(es). but that’s just one more thing i’m thankful for.
i am thankful…
1. for our wonderful faithful fans who show up and scream their hearts out and make us laugh every week and love us whether we win or lose,
2. for codeine, and the doctor that so nicely offered it to me,
3. for my mom and the ghetto popsicle stick splint she brought me, which is much more comfortable and works better than the fancy shmancy metal one the doctors gave me(thanks to these last two things i haven’t said ‘ow’ in like 3 hours)
4. for my coach, and his awesome wife,
5. for my teammates, who play so great but still want me to play even though i’m not great, who ‘gossip’ ;] and who, i think even the other teams agree, are probably the most fun people to play with. they’re too nice to hate.
6. that i didn’t play today,
7. that i got to watch overtime from the line where you sub, so there were no tall people to try to see around,
8. that God is at work, and that He’s keeping me SO unexplainably happy right now.
really, i should be kicking things and screaming. but i’m not, and it’s not cuz i’m forcing myself to be positive(you know i HATE fakely happy people that say stupid things after games, i would never be one of those myself), it’s that i don’t even feel like it. and i don’t know why. i’m not happy that we lost. i guess i’m just happy that we played so well and there weren’t any calls or goals that i thought were unfair or really bad. it was just a really good game with two really good teams playing.
now back to the title question. last week justin was asking me about our last game(the awful one where i started), and he asked “so what did you learn about God?” and i was so caught off guard by this(i had just finished answering a list of rapid fire questions about what shots i blocked, why i missed the ones i missed, how i felt the whole game, what i learned about playing, other normal soccer related questions) that i couldn’t answer at the time. but for this week, i know what it was.
God needed to humble me. i kind of figured that out last week, but i didn’t realize he’d succeeded, until tonight. when coach warned me that i probably wouldn’t get to play tonight, i actually was able to honestly say i was fine. i’m not just on the team to be special anymore(though that’s still a plus). now i’m there to be whatever i’m needed to be(unless they need me on the field. i’ll never agree to that one), whether it’s in the goal, or on the bench encouraging people. i just love being part of this in any way.
(God is funny. and i think he has a lot of fun teaching me things because for me to learn, he has to get real creative.)
i can’t believe it’s almost over. and next year will be so different…but this year is what counts right now. i have one week left with these people and this coach, and i am gonna enjoy the heck out of it while it’s there and not think about endings or goodbyes.
and i refuse to cry on thursday.