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Phase 4: The Best Four Years of Your Life

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There will be some overlap in time between this and my last. However, my high school years require their own post. And there could possibly be less drama than my club years.

Unlike most, I had a few chances to meet the soccer coach prior to being a freshman in college. My sister played soccer in high school, and often after games she would bring me across the field to meet the coaches while she got her things together.

Going into my freshman year was very exciting. Tryouts started just after Christmas break. I remember halfway through the week I was talking with my dad, and he let me in on a secret before I was to know; he had been told already that I was going to be on Varsity before tryouts were even over.

While it was hard knowing something I shouldn’t have, it ended up being a nice boost to help get me through the rest of the week. I ended being more relaxed for the remainder of tryouts and managed to keep the confidence that landed me the spot in the first place. I was also excited, as one of my trainers from the years past was one of the assistant coaches. He was one of the best, and had a great eye to help take us to the next level.

I can’t speak for everyone, but in my experience, in all four years playing, freshman year was the best. I’m not trying to sound cocky, but between the coaches and the upper classmen, they all looked after us and gave us the little extra boost to remind us that we were a part of the team too.

My freshman year was my favorite. Despite being apart from everyone, and having most of my friends playing on JV, I had the time of my life. The team in the past years had done well and dominated, and this year was to be no exception. There were numerous tournaments, and we ended on top each time. We made our way to the conference championship, then district, then state.

The whole experience was quite a ride. To be one of two freshmen on the team made it more of an exciting experience. Getting to play on the same field as the Creighton men had so many times in the past had always been something I had hoped to do.

The state tournament was more than I could have imagined. The year had been a whirlwind to get to this point. I had family in the stands for each game, as well as friends cheering me on. I still remember the final substitution in the game, when I was pulled off the field, and the senior taking my place said, “Congrats, freshman” as we switched places.

It was a great feeling when the time expired, and the scoreboard read 3-0 in our favor. We were state champions. A great way to send the seniors off, and a great way to set the tone for the following year to come.

A lot of schools all over the city claimed that we recruited players (which we did not). Both the girls and the boys soccer teams tended to be exceptional, and a huge part of that was the players. Most of the time, the coaches had very little coaching to do with the talent they had. In our case, that wasn’t such a good thing; when the time came for some coaching advice, there wasn’t much to give, if you catch my drift.

My sophomore year wasn’t much different from the first. We lost quite a few seniors, but the freshmen we brought on to the team did a great job stepping up and taking their place. However, they were the ones getting the freshmen treatment, despite the drama that came along.

Our year did not start off well; poor decisions were made by some the eventually affected the team as a whole. However, we were able to move forward and live up to the good name we had made for ourselves. More tournaments, more domination. I had even managed to gain a starting position towards the second half of the year.

I had always told people throughout my time as a player, I had played every position on the field, from goalie to forward. Most of my time was spent as a midfielder, spending my knowledge of all areas of the field in the best way possible. However, I finally found my home as an outside defender. I loved every second of it. I found a rhythm back there, one I never thought I would find as a defender.

As the year progressed, we yet again found ourselves standing united on the championship field. As it should have been all along, the final game was harder fought, and would be a battle that we would end up fighting three years in a row. We were confident, though. We had already beat this team at least once during the season, so why would this be any different? They were out for blood, to put it bluntly. Despite the competition, we ended victorious. Two years, two championships. I found it hard to complain about that.

The next two years would bring on a change, and not necessarily for the better. We lost the assistant coach, who was tired of the drama that came with the freshmen after only one year. We gained two more assistant coaches, but it would never be the same. One was a former player, who came back to her roots and was teaching at the school now.

Remember when I said there was a lack of coaching advice? Well, there tended, at times, to be a lack of common sense. The tryout process seemed to be put on just for show; in the back of their minds, the team was already set. I found it hard to believe some players had made the team over others, who were clearly better and more talented.

Junior year was a hard year, not getting the chance to play with my sister due to this lack of sense. The team lost any sense of the fun it once had, as the coaches seemed to scramble to have some sort of input on our playing style. In my mind, it was far too late for that.

There is at least one game from every year that I remember, and this was no different. From what I remember, there were two games from my junior year that ended with me being benched for the remainder.

The first game I remember, I had worn earrings to school that day, and had forgotten to take them out prior to the start of the game. Safe to say that once the refs noticed, that was the end of my time on the field. The second game was harder to take. I ended up in a one on one situation in front of the goal. I’m not sure how it happened, but what I remember next is watching the ball roll into the net while I was lying on the ground. That, too, ended my time on the field.

Despite all of the hardships from the year, we managed to emerge victorious yet again. This was becoming a tradition, and the team was excited for the next year, planning to do the same, planning to have four championships in a row.

My senior year was probably one of the better years, while also being among the worst. I finally had the chance to play with my sister, and many of my friends joined as well. I had hopes that this would be another great year.

As with every other, there were challenges. Practices turned to conditioning, some thinking they were far above everyone else. The cohesiveness was beginning to break; there were times it felt like we were barely holding on.

Again, there are two games from my senior year that I remember clearly. The first was Senior Night. It was often tradition to ensure each senior scored, as a proper way to win our last home game. That was one of the more exciting games to play. The second is the state final. We were hyped, we were ready. We fought hard, staring out behind as they scored two quick goals on us, catching us on our heels. We ended in overtime, having tied the game, only to end up losing 3-2.

That was the hardest loss. I had hoped to end my senior year the same way we had sent the seniors off in the years before. I still remember walking around the stadium with the medal around my neck. There were random people saying congratulations, and I was too mad and upset to say anything back. This was not how things had been planned to end.

The ironic thing I noticed that year revolved around the success of both the boys and girls teams. There had not been a single year where both had won the state championship. To this day, I’m not sure that has changed, either.

I stayed around for the two years to follow, watching my brother and sister have their own chances at winning the state championship. However, all it took was those four years for me to realize I no longer had a love for the game. All it took was four years of high school soccer for me to lose the desire to play at a competitive level ever again. I was done. That was perhaps the easiest decision at the time, though hardest now looking back.

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Phase 3: Expert Trader

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I briefly touched on the following in my previous post, but looking back over my time, I never had the same coach for more than two years for one reason or another. Do I look at that as a bad thing? Definitely not. Each time had its ups and downs, but who doesn’t? After leaving Lincoln, I played on four teams, and had four different coaches. You have to what’s best for you, right?

When I came back to Omaha, after tryouts, I ended up on the team that I had played on prior to joining the team in Lincoln. The same coach, and for the most part it was the same girls, too. It was a little comforting, after leaving to return to an old team with people I already knew.

I would take my past experiences as chances to learn, and that’s exactly what happened with this team. It wasn’t a bad experience; it was a step down from the level I had been playing at the year before. While I was still enjoying myself, there were still some struggles.

As to be expected, the friendships I had made a few years prior were no longer the same. We still knew each other, but obviously had lost some of what we had. However, we were still teammates after all and that didn’t change anything. I had a couple of teammates from my team in Lincoln that followed us to Omaha and play on the same team. At the time, I glad that they had. It was nice having some old teammates still playing with you. At times, though, I had wished they had never switched with me. I guess looking back everything worked out how it was supposed to, and it’s water under the bridge now.

That year was a challenge, as it was to be expected. I was coming in to a team that had been playing together for two years already. The coaching was different, and we eventually ended up not seeing eye-to-eye. This one was of the struggles that I had to overcome. He was an assistant coach at UNO in Omaha, so the team would sometimes go to games together to watch and see what our future could potentially be.

We ended up playing against my old team a couple of times that season. There was one girl in particular that I didn’t really get along with at the time we played together, and it was even more pronounced playing against each other. It always made me laugh when she would always go out of her way to try and one-up me.

While we weren’t the best team out there, we certainly weren’t the worst. We still had fun travelling to tournaments and playing in state cup every spring. One thing I distinctly remember from playing at that age is my parents would tell us they would buy us a Blizzard from Dairy Queen if we scored. We soon grew out of that tradition in the next few years; all four of us ended up on defense or in the midfield so the chances of us scoring slimmed over the course of those few years anyway.

Though I wish I had more to say (or even remembered more) about my time on this team, it lasted a year before the necessary decision was made to move on again. By the time tryouts rolled around, we were ready to move on. The team I was trying out for was somewhat famous in the soccer world (but then again, which team wasn’t). They had had a couple of coaching changes in the past couple of years, and they had had a lot of ups and downs in those couple of years as well.

To say I was nervous was an understatement. As with any team, they were already close and had chemistry on the field. I was excited to find that I had made the top team, and the girls on the team were awesome and welcoming. Though I was unsure at the beginning, I could tell this could be my final team for the rest of my club playing days. The coaching staff was great along with the trainers, and for the most part everyone got along with each other.

While my time with this team was only two years, those two years were some of the best. I’m sure my parents would agree the training and challenges I got were great for my development as a player. The first year on the team was also the first year we played in the Midwest Regional League (MRL). We would be travelling every weekend to different cities in the Midwest (though a lot of the time we ended up in Overland Park, KS). We would play 2-3 games a weekend against other teams looking for that same challenge.

Every time we would be gone for a weekend, whether it be league games or a tournament, we would all get together on Friday night and just hang out. Typically, the whole team and the parents would go out and get dinner together on Saturday night. Ribs was always a favorite among everyone, and typically what we all got to eat.

There were always a lot of jokes and having fun, and times that we would have team get togethers to just hang out. Whether it be going on a run together, or having a pool party, we were there for each other on and off the field. The chemistry we had as a team almost rivaled what I had with the first team I played for in Lincoln.

I do look back at times thinking about the practices, the training, the travelling, the games. All of it. This was one of the better times in my career playing soccer. There was a lot of dedication and high expectations, but it made me better for it.

Right around the end of my second year, there was a lot of news that hit us at once. The main note of interest was we would be merging with another club in Omaha; the club that I had been a part of just a few years back. The way it was not so subtly described to me was “they have the money and we have the indoor space”. While that made sense, it was the first of a few mergers to happen in the years to follow.

While I still found myself on the top team of the new club, and playing with current and old teammates, it was nowhere near the same. There was a juggling around of coaches as they tried to find someone with the necessary experience who good take an already good group of players to the next level. This was especially difficult as the coach we had for the past two years was no longer coaching; the club was even looking across the river for coaches in some of the Iowa leagues (thankfully Council Bluffs did not make that list).

Now I would never say that I hated any part my time playing, or that one year was the worst out of them all, but if I did this would probably be it. The coach they found seemed to have the experience needed and seemed to understand what we were looking for. We were all impressed and had a good feeling for the season to come. I even remember saying almost that exactly when talking to my parents the night after he had introduced himself to the team.

I don’t remember much from that season, as it was short as it was, and I only played on that particular team for a year. It was a mashup between my two older teams, and it almost felt like I got lost in the shuffle. There were some practices that he followed that were hard to get behind. There was typically a person or two every game who would be there on the bench but would not be suited up to play; a clear indication that maybe he didn’t know exactly what he was doing. I even had one of my old coaches come up to me after a game asking why I wasn’t playing and had no good answer to give because I didn’t even have the first clue.

That year was a struggle for me at least; it seemed to work out well for others. After that season was over and we were nearing tryouts again, we had talked on the idea about trying out for the team a year older than me (which would create a problem when I reached my senior year).

My mom received a call the night after tryouts from one of the coaches if another team from my age group. I didn’t understand what exactly had happened, but essentially my coach from the previous year tried to cut me out of the age group all together because he had heard I was trying out for the older team. This coach told my mom he would take me on his team if we would be open to that.

We accepted this as our option, having never gone through the tryout process for the older team in the first place. Under the best circumstances, this was probably the best move we could have made.

It was hard transferring to yet another team, even though it was through the same club. But it didn’t take all too long to get right back in my comfort zone and have fun.

I have never not liked the girls I played with, and this was no exception. I was back to having fun as well as making new friends with my teammates. I had been playing against this team ever since we were about 10 years old; it seemed to be the same team still with a few additions along the way.

We were back to playing in the Nebraska state league, though the travelling aspect didn’t change much. We still travelled to tournaments, and event went to places I had never been before. One of my favorites was Memphis, TN. Though we were there for soccer, and to be honest I don’t remember much of how the games went, the food was the best part. I would have to think you’re crazy if you go somewhere like Memphis and don’t get barbecue. It was some of the best I have had. My mom and I even joked about having some sent home (the restaurant we went to had the option to deliver anywhere in the country!).

Another cool place we travelled to was Vegas. Again, we were there to play soccer, and we were all too young to do much else anyway. There a few memorable moments from that trip. A bench clearing fight happened in one of our first games; that is a moment I will never forget. Walking the strip for the first time with my mom and my sister. Visiting the Nike outlet; of course I came out with a couple pairs of shorts and a new pair of shoes. The most memorable part was my sister coming with and being invited to play with us.

My coach had invited my sister to train with us a lot of the times during the winter. One of my teammates eventually started to call us Thing 1 and Thing 2. My sister’s coach was also a trainer and coach for my team, so that worked out pretty well.

He was really relatable, and always had our best interests in mind. There was one game I remember in particular that makes me laugh now looking back. We were playing against my old team, and one of the girls and I went up for a header. Instead of getting the ball, we both knocked heads at full force. We were both down at that instant. In hindsight, I probably should have left the game. I remember my mom coming around to our side of the field, and I remember my coach said something to me that made me laugh. My mom still has to remind me what he had said; ironically, I don’t remember what it was!

Looking back over all the years of playing club soccer, I am pretty thankful that, aside from getting tendonitis in my ankle in 4th grade, that was the worst injury I sustained.

There are plenty more memories flashing through my head as I’m writing, and I wish I had a way to write them into words. They would be a lot of little stories that probably wouldn’t make much sense. I even have memories now from my Lincoln team that weren’t included in my previous post.

However, if I managed to write down every last memory, it is likely this would twice as long; this is already the longest I have written so far and I haven’t even touched on my high school team yet. But that is still to come! There is plenty here for now.

 

Phase 2: The Midwest Traveler

I don’t remember much about the process that led up to tryouts; all I know is I had reached the age where we would be placed onto teams with players that had similar skill sets.

The first thing I remembered about the season on tryouts is travelling to Lincoln to tryout for a team there. I didn’t know much about the girls that would be there, other than they had all been playing together since they first started many years ago. Talk about intimidating.

My dad heard good things about the coach of the team, and had done some looking around prior to that day. In general, I am not an overly outgoing person, so it was weird to be out of my element and thrown in to a group of people who already all knew each other. I also remember thinking I had no business being there; they were all so much better than I was.

The tryout process was over in a blur, and before I knew it we were driving from Omaha to Lincoln at least twice a week for practices; at times it was three if our games were in Lincoln as well. It was an interesting adjustment. It would be packing my bag the night before, coming home from school, quickly changing, and hitting the road. I would be eating my dinner on the car ride down, and homework there and back.

I do remember how much fun I had in those two years. Friends were made quickly, and even had some of the parents looking out for me during camps and tournaments if mine couldn’t be there. It was a new sort of family concept I hadn’t been a part of before. There were birthday parties and sleepovers, scavenger hunts and hide and seek in the hotels. The bottom line? We were able to have fun on and off the field, knowing the minute we stepped on the turf it was fun in a different way; we had to add a level of seriousness.

There is one practice that sticks out in particular. If anyone is familiar enough with soccer at a younger age, then you are aware of the game called Butts Up. I was still up shooting, and one of our coaches held up a five-dollar bill as an incentive. I lined up and took my shot. It’s safe to say I walked out of that practice five dollars richer.

One of my favorite things to do with the team was travel to tournaments. Now, we weren’t going anywhere too crazy; they all were still in the Midwest. Having not had the opportunity too much when I was younger, it was definitely an experience that I was looking forward to when the first one came around.

My favorite tournament was the Just for Girls tournament that was held in Des Moines every year. It was a way to kick off the rest of the season, and in a weirdly enough it was a fun place to play. We got play at the old Drake stadium and it was overall a fun atmosphere. Though most tournaments stayed close to home (and were sometimes just at home), they were a fun time to get out and play against other teams from different states. We also tended to dominate most of the time too. ☺

For the two years I played with this team, I received some of the best coaching and training I possibly could have had at that age. During practices, our coach implemented a very effective “punishment” if we ever took a shot that went over the crossbar. If that ever happened, we would have to step off to the side and do crunches before being able to come back on the field. My dad told me once that he has a memory that someone did that in the middle of the game! To this day, when watching other people play, I still remember that rule.

My second year with the team played to the tune of a different drum. Our coach had decided to retire from coaching, and one of the assistant coaches from the University of Nebraska team stepped in. This was a club team with some of the best players in the area; we lost a little bit of the fun aspect.

The training and the coaching were still top priorities, and we continued to do well. We were allowed some privileges to practice on campus, and get into the college games for free. Overall, he was a nice and good coach with our best interest in mind.

About halfway through the season, there was talk of moving our team over to a new club that was forming in Lincoln. When that happened, only about half of the players stayed; I was not one of them. This was a move not many parents were happy with, and I’m sure it was a hard choice to make. Leaving the team was not the easiest. Two years doesn’t seem like a long time, but I had still managed to form friendships during that time.

I would later find out that I would be back playing with a lot of my teammates from the team I played on before going to Lincoln. I also did find out, I had a couple of friends who would be coming with me; this time, they had the hour drive there and back that we had done for two years.

It doesn’t seem like much, but this really improved my skill and love for the sport, even if I didn’t know it at the time. At the time, I just loved to play.

I could write so much more on this one experience, but I will save that for another post. Otherwise this could be twice as long.

 

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Phase 1: In the Beginning

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As I sit here, trying to find out how to start this off, I can’t help but think, why not start at the beginning? While it seems so simple, the beginning is the part that I have the hardest time remembering.

For anyone who knows me, it might be hard to believe I started out taking dance lessons. I was also playing soccer, but nothing seriously. I was, after all, only 4 years old at this point. There was even a point early on when I wanted to be gymnast, which might be even harder to believe. I would be doing cartwheels and somersaults in the backyard trying to perfect it all, wanting to reach my goal of being the greatest gymnast ever. It’s safe to say that didn’t last long.

From the moment I came home and quit dance, my parents were a huge support. They were jumping into the world of club soccer completely blind. I was already playing on a team through my school with a lot of my friends; for some reason I wanted more than that. Both of my parents recognized what I had wanted, even if I couldn’t clearly say it out loud.

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I found myself at my first practice with the club team I had ever played on. I was joining a team that had been together already for a few years, and that was nerve-racking. Walking into a group of people I don’t know is not the best situation for me, especially back then. I quickly adapted and found some great friends through that team, a couple of which I still see and talk with today.

I would say my first club team was a needed stepping stone. It was fun and exciting, and I felt like I was on my way to getting closer to where I one day dreamed to be. Like any girl at a young age, I often dreamed of someday wearing red, white, and blue, playing alongside some of the greatest players like Mia Hamm, or Abby Wambach, or Julie Foudy. I had spent so much time with my parents and my sister watching them play, and growing up with these three especially as my idols and role models.

As my mom tells it, and as my memory serves, every game I had my hair done in my “power pigtails”. It was rare for me to play a game, or maybe even attend a practice, without my pigtails present. I was always so sure they gave me the extra energy I needed and contained some sort of super powers to make me play my absolute best. They were a necessity; we always made sure to have time to have my hair done the right way.

I played on that team for a few years before moving on, so to speak. It wasn’t quite the time for tryouts, but the team I played on was the next step needed in order to get to tryouts. This group of teammates ended up being great friends as well. As it turns out, I would see them more often during the years to come as well.

While the first club team I played on had a more “for fun” vibe, the second team had more training and development opportunities. In other words, we were all just a little more serious about our future soccer careers.

Practices included trainers, games had higher intensities, and we lived soccer year-round. Granted, we were still only about 9 or 10 years old, but we loved every minute of it. Practices were held in school gyms, and there were indoor leagues all over town for us to participate in. While it certainly wasn’t conventional, it was all we needed to make sure we kept up our skills and touches.

From this experience I gained two new friends. We always tried to hang out during practices, and there were also times we talk on the phone or spend time hanging out outside of practices and games. In a way it also turned into a friendship between all of our parents. They would spend time together talking while we are doing our thing (most of the time it involved soccer in some capacity).

One other person had a good impression looking back, and that was our coach. He knew how to make it fun and keep us involved and interested. He made sure to focus on our positives, but also pushed us to ensure we were playing our absolute best; he knew how to relate to us.

As many people know, friendships and connections don’t last forever. It sounds very cliché, but at the same time it holds some truth to it. This seemed to be very short and summarized based on my memories. However, as I move forward, I hope to add more detail and insight to give a better view into my time as a soccer player.

An Introduction to a Lifestyle

I was taking a walk the other night, just to go check the mail at the end of the day. On my way, I passed a family playing some soccer together. I smiled to myself, thinking back to the time my brother and sisters would do the same thing in our backyard.

Typically, I enjoy taking walks at the end of the day. I use the time to clear my head and just relax. However, I found myself thinking back to the many years (17!) I spent playing the sport I truly loved. There were highs and lows, as would be expected. I saw mainly flashbacks to monumental moments in my “career”, and even some not so monumental.

As would be expected, my mind initially went to playing in the state tournament in high school. But thinking even further back brought me to the moments when I first started playing. Now I don’t remember the timing exactly, and I’m not sure if my memory has been filled by what I was told, but a little part of me remembers the moment I wanted to quit taking dance lessons and start devoting that time to soccer.

I have been told I have a weird memory; there are times I can pull up the most miniscule detail about something, and people just look at me asking, “How in the world do you remember that?”. With that being said, as I focus and think back, there are moments from my early years that come to me in small flashes.

During the time of my short walk, I was hit with the realization that I don’t have any documentation showing what I spent most of my life (up to this point) doing. I have pictures, and T-Shirts that will someday become a quilt, and the memories in my head. I came to the decision, quite out of nowhere I will add, to take the time to write down my experiences, memories, and personal feelings through it all.

While this post is pretty short and sweet, I am starting to work on different installments. I have the plan to start with the earliest years I can remember, and work toward present day. Believe it or not, soccer is still a part of my life today, just in a different way. It’s funny how your position can change, but the feelings can remain the same. But there is more on that to come!

 

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Season of Change

Fall Leaves

During high school I took a creative writing class, and my favorite part of class was writing poetry. I have always enjoyed writing my own poems in my spare time, mainly because I didn’t have the patience to write anything longer.

I always found it easy to write about the different seasons. They are always changing, and they are one thing that everyone knows. It’s always fun to think about the best (and worst) parts of each one, and find a way to interpret each one in my own way.

I came across some old poems of mine recently, making me think about the last time I stepped back and appreciated everything around me. I have always said that fall is my favorite time of year; this year it has certainly flown by and I hardly noticed my favorite time of the year.

The leaves changing colors, the cooling temperatures, and of course football season. The leaves explode into color, brightening the world all around. They float down from the trees, raining down and creating piles for kids to jump in.

The cooler temperatures bring a calming, peaceful feeling, creating an environment of comfort, allowing everyone to dial back and take more time to be themselves. Long gone are the tank tops and shorts, and a time for jackets and sweatpants has arrived.

This time of year awakens the kids in me. I run through the leaves that pile up on the side of the street, and would not be opposed to running and jumping into my own pile of leaves. Fall could be seen to some to be a stressful time of year; I think it is what you make it. If you take the time to step back from the stresses and craziness in your every day life, typically you’ll find there is a lot more than what meets the eye.

Wishing on a Star

It’s amazing how much a walk, or sitting outside while a storm comes rolling in can give you time to reflect and give you a sense of calm.

As a kid, I would always take walks with my parents on nights when it was nice enough outside, especially in the summers. I would sit outside and watch the rain pour, the lightening flash, and hear the thunder roar. These moments were experienced in complete silence, except the sounds of surrounding nature.

I speak of these moments in past tense as if they no longer exist; these moments still play a huge part in my life and how I sometimes clear my head. I still take these moments when I can get them and don’t take them for granted. A walk around a park, or through a neighborhood, takings in a beautiful sunset, watching millions of stars litter the sky.

I often find myself feeling like a kid during these moments in time. Making a wish on a star, or before blowing out candles on a cake. There is no such thing as being too old, or being ridiculous; dancing wildly to a song, or running around in the rain. It gives a sense of freedom, and no care to the rest of the world or what they may think.

The time spent throughout the years enjoying the freedom, gives me a sense of relaxation and almost a new outlook once the moment is over. I have tried to find ways to enjoy life, and, to me these are the greatest ways I know how. Every person is different, and that can be the greatest part. Learning how other people enjoy their life gives you the chance to also share yours. IMG_0144

End of One, Start of Another

Journey

It seems hard to believe that I have reached this crossroads. There were times I never thought it would happen, as well as wanting it to happen a lot sooner than it did. With reality setting in, I keep going through a range of emotion. Fear, excitement, independence, uncertainty. It almost feels like I’m cutting the lifeline my parents created 22 years ago and I’m finally doing everything on my own.

Nearing the end of my time living and working in Lincoln, NE, I can’t help but think how perfect the timing has been. Though I will miss spending my Saturday’s in Memorial Stadium cheering on the Huskers, I have spent four years in a place I knew would only be temporary. I never imagined I would stay after graduation, but life happens and I have been here two months longer than originally planned. However, my time has finally reached an end with my sights set forward on what’s to come.

I have spent many years exploring and playing soccer in Overland Park, KS. During high school, I would always say if I were to live anywhere other than Omaha, that’s where it would be. It’s funny how that’s how it’s worked out. I don’t feel like I’ll be starting over necessarily. It seems more a new opportunity. I’m excited to have the opportunity to set out on my own at a point in my life when I’m still able to do so.

Of course, with that excitement comes fear. Going to a new city where I know few people is slightly terrifying. Not knowing what to expect once I am finally there is a little daunting. I’m no longer going to be just an hour away from home; a phone call will be all I have, unless a three hour drive is necessary. I always used to say I would never move farther than just down the street from my parents. It’s funny how perspectives change with experience. I’m sure homesickness will occur more than once, but it helps having close friends just down the street.

Making a transition between cities (and states) will be hard, especially since finding another Husker fan won’t be easy. ☺ Regardless of the hardships and unknowns lying ahead, I’m ready for my journey in Lincoln to end, and the one in Overland Park to start. I am going to miss what I’m leaving behind as I am moving forward.

Fireworks

Burn

Although the Fourth of July was a week ago now, there are still memories from that night fresh in my mind.

In past all through my childhood, my family would always spend the Fourth grilling out, sometimes go swimming, and then find somewhere to watch fireworks together.

This year, I felt like a kid all over again. I celebrated the holiday differently than I had in the past, and it was something I hope to never forget.

I have never set off fireworks before. I always told myself something bad would happen if I did, even if I was being smart and careful. Last week, I experienced what it was like for the first time. It was a different feeling running back and forth each time I would set one off.

Although some things from that night haven’t changed from what I am used to, it was fun to truly see my inner kid come out. It was an exciting experience, and I know there won’t be another time where it will feel the same.

I’m just glad I was encouraged to try it just once, because that was all it took for me to realize just how fun it can be.

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