Some things you make are edible, or visible, or wearable. Some you can't see, or you can only see for a second, and then the game continues, and you're just left with the feeling of what just happened. And it feels good. Tonight I made a goal. I've been playing on an indoor womens' soccer team pretty much since we moved to Portland, and it rocks my world. There are a lot of things you do growing up, and it seems like most of them you grow out of or you move on from. Soccer is not one of those things for me; it's always been my thing. I remember my first almost-goal in high school. It was in Bozeman at the Montana Cup, probably sophomore or junior year. I took a shot and it hit the crossbar, and I ached for it. I can still feel it. Then my first goal, that was the weekend Ty graduated from high school. From the top of the box, I took the shot and time slowed down. It arced over the keepers head and landed perfectly in the upper corner. I couldn't wait to come home and tell him. It felt so good.
After every game I whisper a thanks to my parents (sometimes I even tell them) for all the gas money they spent letting me drive to Miles City for practice, or for following me all over Montana for games. For letting me and Nikki make that drive 2 or 3 times a week by ourselves, two clueless high school girls. For encouraging me to stick with it. To mom for flying to California with me to watch my heroes play a World Cup semifinal; for standing in line so I could get Mia Hamm's autograph on a soccer ball which would then be rendered useless for playing with, but is still sitting proudly on a shelf in my room. And dad for mowing "MIA - 9" in the backyard; I think that showed till the next summer.
Or to Ty, for kicking the ball in the backyard with me (and chasing it into the neighbors yard, too). He was my real hero when it came to soccer. He used to kick the ball against the back of the garage for hours at a time, which was crazy annoying, but he got good. It got him a scholarship, at least. I got to play with him and the guys at Pine Butte, using the headlights of someone's truck for light after dark. You'd be proud of your little sister. She's gotten better with time. I even had my first hat trick this year. Ty & Sam used to offer me $5 to get a yellow card at a game; that still hasn't happened. But I play harder, more aggressive. I took a nice fall tonight. Sometimes I take chicks out (in the safe-aggressive way, of course). I remember dad sitting in the bleachers or standing on the sidelines at any of my sporting events in Colstrip, mouthing the words "be aggressive". I don't ever remember him yelling it, just mouthing it. Well, I am aggressive. I will keep playing as long as I can. I love the sport. Thanks for letting me play, for teaching me to be tough, for giving me a chance to make goals.