How We Learn

It was spring break of 2021. My soccer tournament was up and coming. Me and my family took the day to drive up to Palo Alto, near San Francisco. I was extremely excited. My club has been training very hard for this moment and for this tournament so we could prove ourselves to the league that we were worthy of the NPL division. As we drove up, we met the team and got ready with all our rooms and belongings and such. When we got there, we didn’t take it as seriously as we should have. We messed around a lot throughout the trip because we felt that we deserved this as our break from hard training sessions monday through friday every week. This is somewhat similar to the story of Spirited Away, because at first, we took this new place for granted, and then, when the time came, we needed to be prepared for what was lying ahead for us, our games. In Spirited Away, the girl and her family enter this new town, and the parents instantly start to eat the food that is shown there. This becomes one of the biggest mistakes of the movie, because they are turned into pigs, because they took their surroundings and the town for granted. I was much more similar to the girl in the story, because like her, I was preparing myself for the game and not running around mindlessly like my other teammates.

It was almost time, the games were coming up and we were leaving for our field. Me and all my teammates were ready and prepared with a good night’s sleep. As we approached the pitch, we got our first looks at the other team, careful to not underestimate them. The game started, and we played very diligently and aggressively. We created many opportunities throughout the first half, but we were stuck at a score of 1-1. Still a tie. In the Poem, it talks about how there is little that can be done in life. Certain things that you just can’t do. I felt like this throughout the start of the second half. But something changed in me. My mindset changed, and I started putting in much more effort and getting the team to be more offensive. As one play sends the ball up the field, I chased it down and scored. This was the final goal that brought us out of our tie, and we won the game. Unlike the poem, I was able to change the idea that there is nothing that I can do anymore. No one on the team should think that way until the game is over. That mindset is what would’ve brought us down, and the fact that we changed that around is everything. Everyone was so excited, especially me. This gave us energy to go into the second game that day.

More resting throughout the day. This was very important considering how many games we were having throughout the span of 2 days. We got to our second game prepared, but somewhat tired. As we approached the pitch, we had the cockyness and stride in our step, and we were ready to crush our opponents. During the game, we absolutely dominated them. I scored again, and so did our other striker. The hype was overbearing to us. We were absolutely pumped for our next two games. We had a secure spot in the semis. We played it. Our team was getting exhausted from the constant physical and demanding activity, but we ended up winning regardless, it was a very close game. The MetaFOUR page is very similar to our team vs. our opponents. We have become the most dominant players of the league, and we are playing against the “Maguires,” those destined to lose. We were ready to keep going and push through to the finals. Everyone slept very well and rested before the night came. We made our way onto the pitch. We reminded ourselves to treat this like any other game to prevent the nerves from getting to us. Everyone is already exhausted. We played our absolute hardest, but the exhaustion and intensity wore us down, we ended the game 1-1. We had to go to penalties. One shot and one save after another, it came down to next shot wins, was this all for nothing, why had we come this far to not earn the win. We worked so much harder than any other team in the entire tournament. We deserved this more than any team that entered that tournament. The other team’s kid walked up, he set up his shot, and he missed the goal. That was it. We had won this tournament we worked so hard towards. Overjoyed with emotion, we walked off the field, celebrating and cheering. It was an amazing experience. I’m glad that all our dedication to working every Monday through Friday has paid off and we could go home with gold metal around our necks.

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