My quads are killing me. Today was the final day of soccer conditioning. With tryouts looming just past the weekend, my mind is beginning to plan out formations, strategies, and wins.
This is my second year trying out for varsity. Last year, as a sophomore, I crept onto the fringe of varsity candidacy. Tryouts are held as one group for the first few days (fitness, individual skills) then split into those trying out for varsity and those trying out for jv for the remainder. Coaches choose the groups. Tryouts were eight days long; I spent seven on the lower of two fields, working in the mud with the other jv hopefuls. My spirit was a bit crushed; enough so that I asked coach to try out with varsity for the last day. He said of course, he was planning on it. Thanks for letting me know before I freaked out.
The last day of tryouts was all small sided games. Varsity was working on the softball field; it’s the best field we had available at school. There were three small games: One scrimmage and a pair of three vs. three games. My coach split the group up and we played. I was in a three vs. three game first. I played with friends and against friends until my quads burned along with everything else. About halfway through the tryout, coach called the three vs. three players over to him. He said,” The kids playing that scrimmage over there are already on the team. They know that. I’m about to put you guys on the field. I’ve got thirteen players. Six of you are making the team. Show me something amazing.” I played my goddamn heart out. It turns out the varsity players didn’t even play three v. three games. They watched us. I played hard and smart until tryouts ended, and then I went home.
I woke up anxious on Friday, Jan 29, 2010. I went into school, walked up to the bulletin board and fought my way through a crowd of similarly anxious athletes. One kid turned to me with a somber face and said,” Sorry dude. Guess it’s jv for you.” I walked more slowly, with much lower expectations. I read the jv list first, scanning for my name. It wasn’t there. I moved to varsity, down down down. Right there, about halfway down the page, was my name. That kid is a douche. I enjoyed the rest of my day, my spirits soared. Only four sophomores made varsity. I had beat out twenty plus kids from my class and even a junior trying for my position.
Now, with tryouts approaching again, I’m not so anxious. Once a varsity player, always a varsity player (for the most part.) Now I’m looking past tryouts and to a state championship. With only three losses in four years of high school soccer, I’ve got a good feeling.