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Play Like It’s Your Last Game

Yesterday afternoon, after church, I had a long conversation with my Chicky.

Both of our schedules are hectic, and she’s not usually one for long chats, so catching her in a talkative mood was a dream come true.

One of the topics we covered was soccer.

Even though she’s unable to play because of her knee, she still attends every practice and sits on the bench during games, urging on her teammates the entire time.

It’s killing her not to play.

She’s a competitor.

She’s rarely been down for the count.

Not being able to contribute hurts her worse than the pain in her knee.

As we talked, she told me about how, since she tore her ACL the first time in the ninth grade, she’s always played like it was her last game.

Truth be told, she’s played this way since she first stepped onto a field at the tender age of six.  I don’t think I ever watched her play when she wasn’t going at it full speed ahead.

Still, though, I keep going back to her comment.

Before she tore her ACL during her first high school season, she was playing pretty darned good soccer.

She’d never given much thought to getting hurt because, quite frankly, she had rarely been hurt.  The worst she had experienced was a rolled ankle.

Her comment yesterday was extremely insightful, though, and gave me a rare glimpse into her heart…into her motivation.

If you’ve ever watched my girl play, you’ll know that she has played some phenomenal soccer since the ninth grade.

Her last season of high school soccer was especially breathtaking as I saw her make some of the most unbelievable plays I’d witnessed to that point.

Her intense play continued throughout her college career and often led me to suck in my breath in fear and admiration.

Watching her play simply took my breath away.

I never had any idea that she was playing as if each game was her last.

I thought she was simply taking care of business.

When Chicky tore her ACL that first time, she realized that she wasn’t invincible and that another game was never guaranteed.

As such, she always did everything possible to win.

She played when she was sick; she played when she was sore.  She iced aching muscles, loaded up on carbs before games, and got plenty of rest.

She did work on the field and sacrificed her body to do the job she was there to do…prevent the other team from getting the ball in the goal.

She did it so well that she stood out, and it was fun to listen to the ooohs and aaaahs as she won headers young ladies of her stature don’t normally win.

She did it with grace, style, and class.

As her mother, I look back to the time before soccer played a large role in her life, and I recognize signs of this motto…Play like it’s your last game…lived out early in her life.

She entered this world with a gusto and did everything early.  She hit all of the baby milestones weeks before what was considered “normal,”

She ran hard, and she played hard.  She didn’t stop for something silly like a meal, and there many, many nights when we fed her as she ran circles around the table.

As a student intern, she’s teaching amazing lessons and is making plans for the class she will one day lead.

She’s living life just as she’s played every soccer game…as if each moment is her last.

She is such an inspiration to me.  The conversation we had…that one small comment…is being stored up in my heart as one of my own new, personal mantras.

Leave everything on the field.

Don’t hold anything back.

Sacrifice willingly.

Play like it’s your last game.

I love you Chicky, more than you will ever possibly know, and I thank you for inspiring me with your dignity, grace, humbleness, and determination to be the best in whatever arena you find yourself, be it soccer, school, or your Christian walk.

2 Responses

  1. I’m not an athlete, but by changing one word, I can apply Chicky’s philosophy to my life: “Live each day like it’s your last.”

  2. We’re not promised tomorrow… every day should be “played” like its the last 🙂

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