Posts Tagged ‘macey’

All duded up for Saturday night

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My Favorite Choctaw


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MC Athlete of the Week


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This week I watched Macey play her final soccer game in a Lady Pirate jersey. I knew when she took the field it would be the last time. Sure, if Pearl had won, they would be in the State Championship Game today; but the writing was on the wall. Ridgeland was better, more confident, more hungry. I watched the first half in the stands with all of the fans who braved the bitter cold rains. It was a terrible night for soccer. Many of the playoff games in the area scheduled for that night had been postponed due to the weather. Ridgeland, as if knowing the night was theirs, just moved the game time back an hour to wait out the worst of the freezing precipitation. The extra hour just made it that much colder as the sun set.

Ridgeland’s girls came out with energy and passion. The Pearl girls played tentatively and defensively. After several goal opportunities, Ridgeland’s pressure finally forced a breakdown and we went down 1-0 just 10 minutes into the game. The goal would prove to stand up.

As the second half started, I just wanted to soak it up. Macey had 40 minutes of soccer left in her high school experience and I wanted to see them from the same vantage point of the players. I went down to the field, went through a gate, and walked across the track just ten feet from the sideline. I was down at one end, standing by myself near Ridgeland’s goal. The game seems different down there. More personal and real. I could see the growing frustration and desperation on Macey’s face. I could hear the Ridgeland defenders yelling at each other to stay with her.

Macey had ended the season strong. The last few games included a 1-0 win over St. Andrews when she headed a pass into the net for the win with 4 minutes to play. She scored twice in the final 10 minutes agains Northwest Rankin to beat them 2-1. Four more goals in two easy playoff wins had brought us here to the North State title game. There would be none of that this evening.

Macey is Peter Pan. I think its difficult, if not impossible, for an 18 year old to fully appreciate how wonderful their life is at that age without the benefit of the hindsight that you acquire only once those years have slipped away. Macey comes as close to getting it as a teenager is able. She knows that the independence gained by growing up, also demands relentless decision making and responsibilities that are hard. If she could freeze time and stay a kid forever, she would.

My friend Keith Warren took the beautiful picture above. It captured both the frustration of the night and the losing battle against time and change. Just as with every other time the ball got into Macey’s proximity, there were Lady Titans all over her. In the photograph she desperately tries to keep control of the ball while fending off the enemy with an extended arm. But the three defenders were too much, just as they would be all night. She could not hold them off long enough to give herself a chance to score. The Lady Titans would defeat her, and usher her out with the relentlessness of time.

Macey is one of those special people who just seem to have that indescribable “it.” Often that gift can be a burden because of the expectations it creates for you. Sometimes you can meet those expectations and sometimes you don’t quite make it. Everything comes to an end. Nobody can keep the ball at their feet forever. Sometimes you put it in the back of the net, and sometimes it gets taken away from you. Final score: Ridgeland 1 Pearl 0.

I felt a lump in my throat as the final seconds ticked off. Not because of the loss to Ridgeland, but because it was the end. A large part of my “now” is in the past, and I will miss it. Macey will play a lot of more soccer in all probability. It will be the same game but completely different. I had so much enjoyment watching her. So many moments to be proud of. I didn’t want to see it end any more than she did.

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Macey can paint … who knew?


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