She reaches down to tighten her laces as she stands on the fresh cut grass, then gets into position.
The whistle blows, signaling to start. She takes 3 steps and BOOM!
The ball launches off of her foot just past the goalie’s outstretched hands and finds the back of the net and just like that, game over!
Her teammates pick her up and start chanting in celebration, “Makaiylah! Makaiylah! Makaiylah!” as they dance around the very field they just won the championship game on.
The confetti drops.
…At least that is the way it was supposed to happen.
In reality, it went down a completely different way.
My daughter Makaiylah was playing in a championship soccer game.
After tying 1-1 at the end of regulation the game would be decided by penalty kicks.
When coach asked who wanted to take the shots her hand went up without hesitation.
She wanted this opportunity.
She would take the 4th shot, her previous 3 teammates would make their shots, as would the 3 girls from the other team.
Now tied at 3-3, the moment she had been waiting for.
She had rehearsed in her head what she had planned to do and where she had planned to shoot but when it came to execution…
Yes, it was passed the outstretched hands of the goalie but it went over the net resulting in the only miss in the shootout.
At that point she knew it was all but over.
As the last player of the other team scored the 5th and final goal Makaiylah put her hands on top of her head and you could actually feel the breath of disappointment escape her.
She was now flooded with tears, inconsolable, crying to the point she could hardly breathe and was gasping for air.
Her mother, Eva was trying to calm her, as well as a teammate but only time was going to help ease this pain.
In her mind, she just let her team down and single handedly lost the game they all worked so hard to win.
Luckily for her, she just got to experience LIFE.
As painful as it was as her father to watch her breakdown in Eva’s arms as the field cleared out, I couldn’t help but take satisfaction in the fact that this would be an experience that we can pinpoint as a moment that she had the opportunity to grow and learn.
Ironically, we were talking just a few weeks prior about the great Wayne Gretzky’s quote “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” at that time she agreed that she would rather take a shot and miss, than not take one at all.
I’m not sure if she understood the pain of missing “the” shot during that conversation.
But she does now.
Just as in life, we all want things, plan things and start to execute things and even daily the results are sometimes not what we planned.
The great news is, we all have the choice to adjust, recalibrate, dust ourselves off and do better than last time.
I once heard “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”.
Even at 10 years old Makaiylah had told me that she WANTS to take the NEXT shot when the opportunity presents itself.
The thought of her making that NEXT shot is not what makes me proud of her…
It is the fact that she wants to take it again.