Today was Joel's final game as a Springville Red Devil. It was a beautiful afternoon for the 14 seniors to play their last game. They beat rival Maple Mountain 4-1. The team finished 3-6-1 in region competition which is a step up from last year's team which didn't win a game. Joel had spent that last 3 1/2 days sick in bed (and couch) but he rose for the occasion, buoyed up by ibuprofen and a strong desire to enjoy his final competitive soccer game.
Before the game began the seniors were honored with a poster (I took all of the photos), a treat bag, a gift bag (all three from parents) and a Red Devil blanket from the coaches.
A few more photos of Joel this season. I don't have photos of all of the games--many were very cold and rainy.
Send me the ball. A frequent gesture.
After the game he came home to open his mission call.
A second corner kick from Joel was a winner. It was placed just right so Hondo (in the air) could head it in for a goal--which he is watching it do.
At least it was not a third concussion from playing soccer.
Joel, it has been a pleasure watching you play soccer all these years. I love your passion for the game. I love how it makes you happy. I love how you have persevered through concussions, cold rainy games, and too many losses. I appreciate how you have rolled with the punches and developed new skills for new positions. You have a knack for knowing just where the ball is and getting it where it needs go. I do not see this as the end of soccer for you. I imagine you will find opportunities for some fun street ball in Ghana and then later in life I can see you serving as a most excellent youth soccer coach. Your children will be blessed to have a father (unlike your father) who grew up with the game, knows its ins and outs, and can play it with great skill.