A view from my side.
The post season state playoff run begins this week for soccer in Alabama. The team I am affiliated with is once again in the Race for the Ring. Since the appointment of our current Head Coach (I am an assistant with this squad), we have been a serious contender for the Ring 7 of the last 10 years. We have made it to the Final Four in each of those 7 years. (Two years ago we lost a qualifying match in overtime to our cross town rival.) 5 of those 7 years have seen our team fall in our Final Four match. Twice we have progressed. Once resulted in a 2nd place finish. The other time resulted in our one and only ring.
The Race for the Ring represents more than a quest for a Championship. It reflects a season of hard work. A season of training. A season of planning. A season of dedication. A season of balancing the athletic pursuits with the academic rigors. A season of choosing to be part of something few have an opportunity to participate in. A season of prioritizing. A season where friends and family often come 2nd to training and competing.
The hard work, training, dedication, planning, balancing and prioritizing all bring a heavy cost. If it were “cheap” everyone would do it. If it were easy, everyone would go home with a Ring at season’s end. Very few people have what it takes to put forth the effort, to dedicate the time, and to sacrifice the opportunities for other pursuits. That is what makes it so special. That is what makes it so extraordinary. That is why the athletes that win Championships are a rare breed.
Whether or not we win our Race for the Ring this year remains to be seen. Whether or not the boys have it in them to finish this season on top or not is up to them. They have driven themselves this far. They have created this opportunity. It is now up to them to seize the moment and do something memorable. The Ring is there for the taking. Whether or not they have what it takes to wear that Ring is the question. I believe they do. We are about to find out if they believe it.