This week begins a long, arduous, and as the season progresses, cold journey for the Twin Valley Wildcat soccer teams, the best athletic teams the school has to offer, hands down. This is not to discredit any of the hardworking youngsters on the diamond each spring, or on the gymnasium floor throughout the winter, the golfers, the tracksters, or boarders. There’s just something a little more magical when soccer comes around. Allow me to explain.
I’m a football man through and through. I grew up in a small Massachusetts town where playing football at the local high school was the pinnacle of a young man’s life. The men in town well into their 70s still wear their letter man jackets from their now distant glory days with pride, and the parents treat the high school team as if their small gridiron was Texas Stadium. Football was our county’s best sport, and many friends of mine broke their bones and tore their ACLs in pursuit of glory.
When I began working for this publication around this time last year, I’ll admit covering soccer games was not my idea of an exciting sports coverage area, and I remember one of the first things I said to Buddy Hayford was “No football around here, eh?” And his response, “We don’t have the numbers for football.”
But as the year continued, I began to meet parents, listen to the awful rhythms beat out on the joint-compound buckets in the student fan section (nothing personal, kids, I’m a drummer and a critical one too), and enjoy the dramatic matches with Leland & Gray. There was a certain dedication that I saw in these soccer teams, there was never any quit. While the school may not have the numbers for football, it puts all of its heart into the fall sport it could always produce a crop of talented young men and women to try out for. Through a fall that got cold early, one in which taking pictures meant losing a finger or two to frostbite if need be, I started looking forward to attending and photographing the games, and even began traveling to away games when I got the chance. I guess you could say that last season turned me into a bit of a soccer fan. So while I look forward to turning on Fox, CBS, and NBC for football, I also look forward to a few months of strolling down to Beaver Street to catch the big game.