Gracious in Defeat

I wrote a little about Trav's amazing soccer season a few weeks ago.  They managed to have an undefeated regular season, clinching the Conference Title in both regular season play and in their Conference tournament.  They also finished the season ranked #10 in Class 1A, which was something they've never achieved in school history before.  It was so much fun to watch his team play and I was (am) SO proud of their coach!!!  A few weeks ago, they went into post-season play where they typically face bigger, stronger schools and in the years' past, we haven't gone too far.  
 We knew they had a good shot to get somewhere in the tournament this year and so Trav's goal for his team was to do better and go farther than we ever have before.  They won their first round super easily, despite a cold and windy day.  We got to host it at our home field, which was also great.  Trav's Mom was visiting and got to be there for the first game and when the second round got scheduled for a Thursday night at 7pm, she graciously stayed home with the kids so that I could go and cheer Trav on.  
 It was super cold that night so I was very thankful to be there alone and not juggling the kids.  We didn't play a great first half but we kicked it into gear during the second half.  Unfortunately it just wasn't enough that night to win and we lost 1-4.  It was disappointing for sure, but I knew Trav was proud of his guys for playing hard until the last whistle and for keeping their composure while being provoked from obnoxious high school fans and some other distractions all night.  In the end, we weren't the better team on the field that night and our season came to an end.  
 It's one thing to be good sports when you are winning and to hold your head high after such an amazing season, but when you lose, well that's when your true character comes to the surface.  That's also why I am so proud to be married to my husband.  I told him later that night, that one thing I always appreciate as the coach's wife is knowing that I never have to worry about him erupting in anger on the sidelines.  He is so even and steady, no matter what is going on in the game and he calls his guys to a high standard of sportsmanship.  He led his boys well that night and although he knew they didn't play as well as they could have, he asked them to give all they had on the field and then showed them how to be gracious in defeat when it wasn't quite enough.  Wins and losses will always be part of soccer and they are certainly part of life.  I love supporting Trav on the field because I know that he is making an investment in his team that goes way beyond soccer skills and school records.  He is also teaching them how to handle wins and losses in life and how to do it with character and class.  
 Yes, it was an incredible season and one we've never quite experienced before.  But as his assistant coach said, these guys also set a new record this year.  
They went 17-0 in the most important way.  
 After every single game and even after this one, their first and only loss, these guys humbled themselves to bless the other team by praying with them and for them.  There just aren't a whole lot of high school boys who are willing to do that or who have the courage to ask the other team week after week if they can pray for them.  But this team did and it was the best thing they did all year.  
Who knows the impact they may have had on the other team or the home crowd that night, but I know that these guys will not forget this season for a long time.  It was the best kind of season and yep, we wish it would have gone on a little longer in the postseason, but these guys have nothing to hang their heads about and every reason to be proud of what they did.  

I'm sure proud of their coach and all that he did too, much of it unseen by the crowds and only between he and the Lord.  It's a lot to coach a high school varsity sport and it takes a big drain on any extra time you may have or family time we have to protect.  There's a lot of stress sometimes and always hard situations to navigate.  He isn't perfect and neither is anyone else on any given team.  
But I can be confident that my favorite soccer coach is doing his best to lead his guys with integrity, character, and spiritual depth that will hopefully impact them for years to come.  
I'm glad soccer is over for now but it was a great run and one worth celebrating!  

This season is in the books and I've got my husband back and my kids have their Daddy back too.  
We are proud to be fans of the SWCHS Stars, but we will always be Trav's #1 fans no matter what!

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