It was a mild Monday afternoon in November.
The varsity boys soccer team got off the bus at Gill-Saint Bernard’s School an hour before game time, desperate to further their playoff run.
The team is loose and ready to go. The long walk to the soccer field built up a palpable tension throughout the line of warriors ready to enter a fierce battle.
By the end of warm ups, the team was eager to start the game. Fueled by the emotion and passion from Coach Schlotterbeck, the ensuing play on the field was fast-paced and highly exciting.
After thirty minutes of play, the match was a stalemate. Each team looked even with a fair share of very threatening chances.
The deadlock finally broke with Gill-St. Bernard’s scoring three quick goals before the end of the first half. The deflated MFS Foxes retreated to the bench, not fully understanding what brought on the sudden surge of goals.
They were met at the bench by two encouraging coaches trying to rally their troops by saying, “Keep your heads up,” and, “We are still in this.”
The captains of the team, inspired by the coaches’ efforts, tried to continue spreading hope into the hearts of the twenty-plus players. Even though the Foxes trailed by three at this point, they were still ready to try to chip away at the daunting deficit that lay ahead of them.
A vicious battle followed, similar to the one in the first half. Although MFS was unable to score throughout the rest of the game, they fought until the very end.
Another goal was added to the lead of Gill-St. Bernard’s in the middle of the second half, making the score 4-0 in favor of GSB.
The game ended after eighty minutes of play with three loud, piercing blows of the head referee’s whistle.
A somber tone came over every player in the huddle.
Usually, a coach would say some cliché speech about how he had a lot of fun during the season, and that he can’t wait to get back to it next year, but that was not the case here. Both coaches shared their true feelings about the season, some good, some bad. Before the long trek back to the bus, Coach Schlotterbeck demanded the seniors to give him a hug, for he will truly miss this strong, experienced, well-humored class. The almost four-month season finally came to an end.