My children both grew up playing soccer, at first it was only my son, since he played on a traveling league. My daughter kept asking……..well, begging to play, and the answer was always no, because I couldn’t be in two places at the same time. With my son getting older and a couple of coaches asking if she could play, I thought it was time, and the answer was finally yes. My daughter was so excited; I clearly remember her the next morning, running and jumping onto the bed, proudly announcing she was a Northstar (the newest traveling league player), and was beaming from ear to ear.
The excitement and joy that filled her heart that day only grew stronger with each passing season. She became passionate about the sport and worked hard to be her best version. Her varsity high school coach confided in me that she was his most dedicated and hard working player he ever coached (male or female) and was voted MVP two consecutive years.
When deciding on colleges, she knew she wanted to continue to play. I was happy she made that decision since I loved watching. Unfortunately, she had to sit out her sophomore year due to an injury that resulted in surgery. It was a very emotional season watching her sit on the bench. Her heart was broken but, once we got past the season she had two more years to look forward to.
The start of her senior year, she was pumped to kick off her final season, and as usual trained hard all summer preparing for pre-season training. I was excited and yet sad this would be her last year. I spent many hours watching my children play soccer, and wondered what would ever take its place.
In her senior, season opener, the entire team was looking forward to getting underway. Hannah was in her element and falling into place in the midfield position, and having a pretty good opening game. Twenty-five minutes into the first half, her and an opponent collided and I see her go down. She was laying on the field, unable to get up, my heart sank and I wanted to run to her side, but in college ball, that’s not an option.
Her pain and heartache told me so much and all I wanted to do was tell her it would be all right, but I knew that would make matters worse. I offered her two loving arms, and a shoulder to cry on. After talking with the trainer, we made the decision she would come home and go to a well known specialist. As the tears rolled down her cheeks there was little I could offer, and felt helpless as I fought back tears of my own. Her devastation felt like mine, and my heart ached for my baby girl.
After seeing the specialist, having an MRI and getting fitted for a brace, we were given a glimmer of hope, she might be back on the field in two to four weeks, but a follow-up appointment would hold more answers.
The appointment was worse than we hoped, and for the second time in two weeks her heart was shattered. Trying to make sense of it to her, I explained everything happens for a reason. It didn’t make it easier for her to believe or me to utter. As she headed back to school, I bravely wave, watch her pull out of the driveway, close the door and weep………for her broken heart, and mine.
As parents, we ache when our children hurt, no matter their age, and provide any advice we think might help. Even though I know this is something she must work through, I offer my love, support and words of wisdom. I’ll continue to cheer on her team and give any comfort she needs, while we wait for the final word if she will return to the field. The season opener won’t be long forgotten, but rather a reminder of the passion #7 has in her heart for the game.