She didn't want me hanging around, so I dropped her off at the high school and went back home to make dinner, after stopping at our local church for a little boost from You Know Who. The tryouts went from 5-8 and I got back to the stadium around 7:40 and saw the group running gassers. After 2 1/2 hours of working out, the coaches had them sprint 100 yards and then jog back. The varsity girls were there as well as JV and my daughter ran around 25th out of 45. If that was anything to go by, she did fine.
When tryouts were over and I was driving her home, she said she thought she did really well. On one of her past weak points, one-on-ones, she thought she killed it, beating her opponents almost every time. If that's true, it's a huge step up from the past when her ball-control skills have been poor. Up to now, she's been more of a hockey goon kind of soccer player, playing defense with a wild ferocity. If you know soccer, picture Joey Barton, only with less restraint.
The best thing of all was the way she talked on the way home. She wanted it. She wanted to be better, she wanted to be faster, she wanted to excel at something concrete in life. As a parent, that's my deepest desire, that she want to be really, really good at something. She won't play socer professionally, but learning how to master anything right now is worth its weight in gold.
We talked about the competition as we drove. She said many of the girls hadn't played soccer in a while, so their skills were a bit rough, but some could outrun her. She said she really wanted to get faster and vowed to work even harder on her hill sprints. When I told her she could run track in the spring and chances were good they accepted anyone on the track team, she was all over it.
And that, my friends, is what I want as a parent. Not soccer, not success, not victory, but desire and dedication driven from within. It's been a long road getting here. There were plenty of times I had to provide the drive and be Ogre-Dad, forcing her to work out and demanding she work harder. I don't think many kids are born with that, I think parents have to keep pushing until the benefits become obvious and the kids get going on their own. To see it start to take hold is a wondrous thing.
When we got home, before we got out of the car, I told her that no matter how the tryouts ended, she was a success. She lapped it up with a big smile. But she still wanted the make the team. A lot.