Putting on the gloves for the last time

Senior year is filled with “lasts,” but I never thought my twin brother’s would ever have an effect on me.

Since we were little, soccer had been a constant activity in our lives. From playing on the same co-ed team to branching off to rec and travel teams, our weeks and weekends revolved around practices and games. Most Saturdays and Sundays I found myself sitting in my lawn chair staring at the goal with the boy wearing a gold-colored jersey and sports goggles.

As high school began the events that followed were expected; we went our separate ways with the sport. He made the high school team and I continued with rec. Soccer was his “thing” and I couldn’t have been happier for him.

Game after game, win or loss, he still had his friends who had been playing with him since they were younger. Defenders, strikers, and a goalie all coming together for the game that they love.

Oct. 6th was their last game ever as a team and my brother didn’t start.

Throughout the whole first half and up until the end of the second I prayed that he’d go in, for I knew the team wouldn’t be moving on in the state competition. If he didn’t go in he would remember the game all from the bench and I couldn’t bare that for him.

The team trailed their opponents, Abington, since they scored two goals within the first 10 minutes of the game. More often than not the ball stayed trapped in the middle of the field stuck between the two teams. Towards the end of the second half Abington sealed their win by scoring two more goals.

All of a sudden my mom pulled on my sleeve to tell me he’s taking off his jacket and sweatpants to go in. With about four minutes left he ran in and jumped to grab the crossbar of the goal like he done since forever. And just like that I’m staring at the goal like I did when I was little, but this time he’s in an orange jersey.

As the clock wound down I couldn’t help, but think how this must feel for him. Something that had been a constant in his life was coming to an end. Sure it doesn’t truly end — friends stay the same and the love for the game never changes — except that group of boys will never play another game for the school again.

The buzzer on the scoreboard sounded and in an instant it was over. I will admit tears welled put in my eyes, but I refused to cry because I didn’t want him to see me upset even though he couldn’t spot me in the crowd all the way from the field.

With the last season over I have a message for him:

Alex, I really hope you play club in college. If you love something as much as you love soccer you can’t just give it up, not yet. Don’t let that be the last time you put on your gloves.

Photo courtesy of Rick Kintzel, Morning Call.

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