Loafing and Cheering at the State Championship Game

I awoke on my couch to see my dogs sitting on top of my chest.  Used to this scene, I gradually looked at my cable receiver to check the time. 11:35. I guess I’ll start making plans for the soccer game.  Text around and take my shower.  I heard it was a “gold out”, so I guess I’ll wear my yellow sweatshirt from freshman year.

I find my ride and have an enjoyable meal at Hooters.  Honestly, I go for the food.  I love buffalo anything.  The female waitresses are just a bonus.  When I pay my portion of the bill, I look in my wallet to see if I have enough money for a calendar.  I have six dollars in ones and a $5 bill.  Dang it.  There goes my only chance of ever owning a Hooters 2013-2014 calendar.  My ride and I finally migrate towards Tad Gormley stadium.  If there was a wrong turn to take, we took it.  New Orleans is so hard to navigate when you’re used to driving in Covington and Mandeville where there’s only like four roads to use.  We finally arrive at the stadium and park.

SSA’s game is underway.  As I walk towards the ticket booth, I notice how dreary of a day it is.  I ask,  “How much for a ticket?”  The ticket lady replies, $10.   When I finally walk in the stadium, I notice how big it is.  I find where the student section will be for the game, and I take my place standing on the bleachers.  The SSA-Lafayette game is tied 1-1.  Lafayette’s’ goal keeper was playing out of her mind.  Then the dagger came to the Doves.  The forward for Lafayette shot a bomb from 35 yards out into the right upper ninety.  That goal was the best goal that I have ever witnessed live in person.   SSA almost manages to score the equalizer several times, but Lafayette’s goalie denies every shot.  It was an awesome game.  I felt bummed for the Doves because they played so well in that game.

Thirst is starting to kick in from the Hooters wings.  I find the concession stand to find that a drink is $3.  I’ll survive.  The SPS-Jesuit game is about to start by the time I finally return to my seat.  You can feel the anticipation start to grow throughout the student section.

The game finally starts.  From the beginning, you can tell both teams will play physical with each other.  The Wolves hold really good possession throughout the beginning of the first half.  I decide to go to the bathroom before anything exciting happens.  While in the restroom, I hear the crowd roar.  Dang it.  Upon my arrival back, I find out that Daniel Garraway scored our first goal.  The entire section starts to gain momentum as we can finally grasp the thought of defeating our rivals for the championship.

Half time arrives; everybody happily sits on the muddy bleachers to give their legs some rest.  There was an eerie feeling in the air.  Everybody remembers how Jesuit won last year.  The next forty minutes will be all about maintaining the survival of our one-goal lead.

The second half ensues.  Jesuit is more aggressive from the start.  Their aggression finally pays off with a header from a corner.  The student section became silent.  The goal was sort of surreal.  Reality hit us when we saw the scoreboard; it was tied 1-1.

Our team battled back and had several good movements for chances.  However, the perfect opportunity for the go-ahead goal never presented itself.  The clocks read 00:00.  It is overtime.

I felt that the only way for the match to end was by penalties.  It just felt like the right way to end because both teams were so equally matched.  From my recollection, the first overtime was very defensive for both teams.  The second overtime was definitely more action.  Both teams tried to score the goal for the championship.  Unfortunately, Jesuit got a corner kick from a rather weak counter-attack.  With the same result as the first one, a header gave Jesuit the 2-1 lead.  As a fan, you could feel the gut shot.  It felt like all of the hopes for our team were squandered.  The Wolves, not backing down, went on an ultra-aggressive offensive to get the equalizer.  The entire back line was engaged in the offense.  The best chance was when our forward got into the box and lost possession.  It looked like a foul.  It felt like a foul.  I saw no ball touched.  I saw only the legs hit.  This was the nail in the coffin.  Everybody was in a rage from the perceived missed call.  Our players were arguing with the refs, knowing the magnitude of the missed call.  The clock sadly reaches 00:00.  The end of a playoff run that wasn’t a miracle was over.  Our team was that great, played hard, and was under-appreciated.

I walk to my friend’s car.  I feel disappointed in the ending of the game, yet I admire the audacity and heart that our team played with.  They truly left all they had on the field.  I personally believe if they played that game ten times, our team would win 8 of the games.  Jesuit left Tad Gormley as the State Champions.  Our team left officially recorded as the State Runner-Ups.  However, I will always believe the SPS wolves were the best soccer team in the state during 2012-2013.

Photo Credit: Michael DeBrocker, NOLA.com

Photo Credit: Michael DeBrocker, NOLA.com

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