Saturday, July 03, 2010

Soccer Hoosiers! (Robert Bickley)

Here is another entry by a WCS faculty member. Robert Bickley wrote this on the eve of the TAPPS (Texas Association of Private And Parochial Schools) state soccer tournament. Robert coached our squad as well as teaching in the English department.

Well, we made it! To playoffs that is. For the first time in nine years, our program will make an appearance in the state playoffs. We just finished a brutal five game week (due in large part to the consistently inclement weather we've had in Houston). Four of those five games were against the best teams in the district. We played the second place team twice and the first and third place teams once. Even though we lost the first four of the five games last week, I am proud to say the most goals any team scored on us was three. I think it did wonders for the boys' confidence to see that they could play not only with the best teams in the district, but the best teams in the state. Those top three teams also advanced all the way to the state final four last season.

I remember a similar situation when I was last a high school varsity coach. When I took over the job as head of the Logan Lady Chiefs' cross-country team, they were the only team on campus that had not won a league title. Obviously that was the big goal for the first season. Sure enough, and, yes, there were bumps along the way, we won league that first year. However, especially after winning the district the following week, I started to get a bit selfish and began considering the possibilities of advancing the team to the state meet. We didn't make it out of the regionals, and it took me a while to realize what a great success the season had been. Last week, to keep the boys' spirits up, I showed them the movie Hoosiers. I'm sure for many of them it was the first time they had seen the flick. The more I think about it, the more similarities I see between this year's soccer team and that historic team from Hickory (at least the Hollywood-ized version). Our school is much, much smaller than other schools in our district and state classification. We don't have a full soccer field for practice. When we do practice, we have to share the field with the girls' team. It's just one of the concessions you have to make at a small school. On a related note, I'm utterly amazed at the success our track team has had since they have no track on which to practice!! Anyway, we face a team in the first round that's one of those big school powerhouses. We'll be playing on their field which is part of an immaculate state of the art athletic complex similar to what is seen in most public school districts in Texas. One of their boys has already signed to play soccer at Indiana (a perennial soccer power) next year. Yes, you could say we have the odds against us. However, as I mentioned before, we just finished a week against three of last year's final four teams, and the worst we were beat was 3-0. Those teams usually take care of us with five or six or seven goals in a match. I'm actually quite optimistic about our chances. I know some of the boys on our team have done some research on the team we're playing, and they may be a bit intimidated by our opponent. Honestly, I see some great similarities between this match and the 12 spies from Israel who searched out Canaan. All but Joshua and Caleb came back with negative, intimidating reports. Those two guys saw what could be done rather than what couldn't be done. I know it's a bit selfish, since the goal all along this season has been to make the playoffs, but I want the boys to realize that they've already played some of the soccer powers in the state. I want them to realize and have confidence in what they're capable of. I guess it's the competitor in me not wanting to concede.

We leave Friday morning from school at 8:30. Several of the parents on the team are going up with us on a charter bus the athletic director has arranged for us. It'll definitely be a memorable experience. All I want is for the boys to believe in themselves, each other, their coaches, and just leave it all on the field.I'll keep you posted.......

(We ultimately lost the game to one of the best team's in the state but it was a memorable moment for Robert and his players. SH)

No comments: