My son Austin has been playing soccer since he was 5 years old. He just turned 17 and is about to enter his high school senior year and soccer season is underway. Over the years he has played many sports and seems to be good at most anything he plays including basketball, wrestling, football and even track – he’s fast. But the one sport which holds his heart more than all the others is soccer and he basically plays all year in one capacity or another.
He plays the high school fall soccer season, followed by usually a brief indoor soccer season and then late winter/ early spring/ spring and summer club soccer. Many of the boys Austin plays with have been buddies and teammates for years; there is a lot of solidarity amongst them. They are brothers, cohesive, committed, devoted and proud of what they do. They are also flexible and open minded when it comes to bringing a newcomer into the fold. They can easily spot new, good talent and welcome the competitive edge into their midst if it means making the team stronger.
About three years ago, a great kid showed up at school and came out to play on the soccer team. He had come originally from South America and brought with him some great soccer skills to help round out the team. In short time he won the hearts of teammates, coaches, parents, teachers and the community. Given his broken home situation, he was also in need of more than a soccer team. A generous and loving family took him in and made him one of their own, eventually even assuming legal responsibility as well. He is a wonderful teenage kid and has been a joy to know and care for during his high school life and has been a crucial link on the boys’ varsity soccer team.
Sad news revealed itself about two weeks ago when it was discovered that since he had played a year of high school soccer in another state before moving here and has now played three years varsity soccer at our school, he is considered ineligible to play now in his upcoming senior year. He is crushed! The whole team is saddened and distraught that he won’t be on the field with them this season. He will be sorely missed! He is an awesome athlete, a tremendous soccer forward attacker, a sportsman, a gentleman and a very fine young man.
An appeal process is in the works but it will likely take quite some time and may not be granted at any rate. Chances are – our Brazilian teen is likely out for the season. At the moment, he will stay put with the team, in a role as a student assistant coach. But everyone knows that his place is on the field with the rest of our boys.
This is one of those times when I, even as an adult, feel that life just isn’t fair! Doesn’t it seem that at least sometimes, rules are meant to be broken? Your thoughts?