The post was inspired by my husband’s soccer team after a loss in the Eastern Finals, one game away from State Championship. Both teams wanted the win bad. And while my husband’s boys lost, they NEVER gave up. They fought and played with heart to the very end.
Well, let me tell you what happened this year.
My husband’s soccer team made a repeat appearance in the Eastern Finals, playing the same team at the same stadium. And my husband’s team won. 6-2. They earned the title of Eastern champions and a trip to the State Championship game. Downside: they’d be playing without the team’s emotional leader and key midfielder due to one too many yellow cards, BUT they’d be playing. In the State Championship game. Only two teams in their classification could say that.
And while that Eastern Regional game was certainly exciting, the State Championship game? Hoo boy.
Scoreless after the first half, both teams clearly wanting the win—BAD, the other team launches one toward our goal, and on a play originating out of pure heart, one of my husband’s best defenders fouls in the box, a foul resulting in a penalty kick for the other team, a foul resulting in a red card. A foul that ejected said defender and left my husband’s team a man down for the rest of the game.
One man out. One goal down. Thirty-five minutes left to play.
We have opportunities. They have opportunities. So many close goals that bounce off the cross-bar or sail just wide left. With ten minutes remaining and a lot of missed opportunities—not going to lie—this coach’s wife had a bad case of bleak. I cursed the world, the unfairness of it all. Why can’t things go right for these boys? In my mind, I’d given up.
But not my husband’s boys. And with three minutes—THREE MINUTES— left in the game, on our fifth corner kick in two minutes, the goalie sent everybody up to the opposing team’s box, and one of our defenders scores to tie things up. The game goes to overtime, both teams battling it out for ten minutes. Then another overtime period. More missed opportunities. More unlucky chances. More incredible saves. With under three minutes to go in the second overtime period, one of my husband’s boys launches one into the back of their net.
And we win.
My husband's facebook status pretty much said it all - one goal down, one man out . Win in OT. Believe.
Now, whether you understand soccer or not, the point is this. These teens NEVER gave up. They dug deep, played with so much freaking heart, never lost hope. A man out and a goal down and they looked adversity in the eye and spit in it.
They never gave up. They believed. In themselves. In each other. In their dreams.
HEART and HOPE and NEVER SAY DIE—it’s why I read so much YA. AND why I write it. And some of my favorite stories are those with the most tenacious characters. Even when things are at their WORST, these characters do not. Give. Up.
Believe in yourself, believe in each other. Believe in your dreams.
It’s been my husband’s team’s motto for several years. It plasters their walls, their clothes. My husband even has Believe tattooed on his arm. Not a game, not a practice goes by where they don’t finish a huddle with “Believe.” And all their friends get into it too, chanting “Believe” songs to pump up the crowd at games.
When I’m feeling doubtful, when I feel like giving up, it’s what pumps me up too.
Be inspired by tenacious teens, people. And believe. In yourself. In those around you.
In your dreams.
And in other news, I BELIEVE we had this awesome vault question last Thursday about YA inspiration and didn’t award a comment of the week winner. So, this week’s winner who told us what character from a YA book inspired her to try something new is
TALYNN at Ink in the Book!
Years and years ago, when I was younger *clears throat* I read Samantha on Stage by Susan Clement Farrar. I instantly fell in love in love with ballet and all things Russia and went on to become a famous ballerina. Well, actually, that was all in my dreams...but I did pursue ballet and a spark for classical music also ignited that left me with a life- long love for The Nutcracker. Thank you, Susan!
Congratulations, Talynn! Just shoot us an email and let us know if you want a book from The Vault, or if you want the book of your choice from Book Depository!
Happy Monday! And don’t stop BELIEVIN’!