All Conference 2nd Team 2015
Shootout. It is a word in soccer that can send a shiver down your spine. Last June, the Lansing Christian Pilgrims played in the Regional Finals against the Saginaw Nouvel Panthers. We knew Saginaw was a talented, experienced and aggressive team and it would be the toughest game of the season.
As a goalie, I am the last line of defense and the amount of adrenaline that night was more than I have ever encountered. I played the most intense soccer of my life and by the end of the first half the score was 1-1 and would remain 1-1 through the second. We found ourselves heading to overtime and the teams worked hard on both ends of the field. The Pilgrims and Panthers defense and offense were solid. Two well-oiled machines battled it out and no one was giving in. By the second overtime, the intensity increased, again each team rose to the occasion. The clock would run out and the inevitable was before us…a shootout.
I will never forget that night or what happened next, my coach approached me, put his hands on my shoulders and uttered these words, “you played hard for one hundred minutes, you should be proud but I need to switch you out, we need height in the box.” We all face moments when we have a choice on how we react to a situation that comes our way. He patted my back, walked away and in that moment I knew he was right. We needed my teammate, she was the six foot starting forward and had played goalie a few years back, while I was a whopping five foot four. I fought for one hundred minutes saving everything that came my way, now I needed to play another role. I believed in my teammate and I told her she was the one for the job, then I headed to the bench and cheered them on.
As an athlete, I know it is important to always do what is best for the team and display the proper attitude. When we make it about ourselves and our achievements it can be devastating for everyone. People often ask me, was it hard being pulled during that critical moment? My response has always been without hesitation, absolutely not. I work hard to be the best I can be, to play with the best, against the best and to walk away knowing I treated those on my team, my coaches, the officials and my opponents with the upmost respect.
The Panthers were just as deserving of winning as the Pilgrims that night and now a shootout would be the deciding factor. Are you wondering what happened? Both teams battled in the fight of their lives but the Pilgrims came out victorious. I know in my heart that decision lead the way for us, that my sportsmanship was as important as the hard work on the field and that makes being a Regional Champion feel that much better.
Playing with a Purpose Leadership Team - Will go to Indianapolis, IN in July 2015 to help underprivileged kids learn about the importance of sports.
Stepping Stones Leadership Team - I have participated in this non profit organization for many years. Community programs that I have helped:
Hannah's House, Red Cross, Rescue Mission, Bingham Back Packs, Riddle Reading Program, Operation Christmas Child, Angel Tree.
I have also been apart of a missions trip to Mississippi and helped with the Katrina Relief Efforts.
Two years ago, I had an experience that forever changed my life. It was the summer of 2012 and my family and I were headed to Waveland, Mississippi to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Our mission was to help build and remove debris for the locals, but while there more than just building took place. I knew it would be hard work and we would meet people from all walks of life, but I never expected that the people I met and the stories they shared would touch me the way they did.
Our first mission was to help a middle aged couple, the husband was disabled and unable to clean up his property that was filled with debris. They had waited several years for help to arrive and clean up the aftermath of what Katrina left behind. They had tons of rubble surrounding a rickety trailer that had replaced the home that once stood there. The couple was filled with anger for the way they had lived for so many years. The conditions that they lived in were difficult to understand. How could someone go so long without proper shelter, water and electricity? It made me appreciate the things so many of us take for granted everyday of our lives.
After many long days of working, we had the opportunity to sit and listen to survivors share testimonies. An elderly woman spoke of how she and her husband were separated after a wave hit their home. It would be the last time she would ever see him. Others talked about the days and weeks it took them to search for their families, the conditions they endured for months and years after. I realized in that moment my purpose was to listen so that they could talk and continue to heal from this tragic event in their life.
The trip my family took to Waveland was amazing and transforming. It taught me that it is easy to become complacent in our own lifestyle. Sometimes the best way to understand a situation is to listen and come alongside those in need. I am thankful for the opportunity to connect with the many different people who went through Katrina and lived to share their battle to rebuild. It reminded me to appreciate my family and the everyday items we take for granted. Everyone we meet has a story to tell and if we are open to listen we can learn something about them and while doing so we may even learn more about ourselves.
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