The final whistle blew and the scoreboard still read Teurlings Catholic 2, Vandebilt 1.
The Lady Terriers had just lost in the state finals for the third-straight year.
Vandebilt players made the long, dubious walk from the field to the sidelines, with each step wondering what could have been.
It’s a feeling they’ve come to know in these parts — the Lady Terriers have now become somewhat used to having their hearts stomped on in the state championship match.
Following the post-match hoopla and after all of the trophies were handed out, Vandebilt got on their bus and headed home.
It was then that the team’s true character showed through. It was then apparent that these young ladies aren’t lovable losers at all, but are instead winners who just haven’t yet achieved the highest level of athletic success.
When you’re in the business I’m in, you’re both blessed and cursed to deal with high school children on a daily basis.
The blessing for me is that I love kids and I have always been able to keep a good relationship with most throughout my life.
The curse is that some of those I mingle with don’t deal with adversity well and struggle with life challenges like losing a big-time sporting event. As an unbiased spectator, I’m not able to physically wrap my arm around these folks and tell them that life will go on – something I still struggle with to this day.
But these Vandebilt girls’ didn’t need any extra support – their character shined bright from the get-go.
I will share a Facebook post written by Lady Terriers’ standout Meghan Philp one day after the team’s defeat.
Granted, Philp is the All-Time leading goal scorer in Vandebilt history. She has every reason to embrace the ‘egotistical athlete’ role.
She hasn’t and never will – a true testament to her and her team’s character.
In her message, she wrote:
“To my soccer family,
It would be out of character for me not to say anything about the game last night so here it is: Although, I wish that the end result of the game would have turned out differently, I know we gave it our best effort. Thinking back on it today, yeah there are some things I wish I personally would have done differently, or made my shots, or made better passes, but in reality we can’t go back. It sucks, but it’s true. As a team we played hard, no doubt, but I think we just let the scoreboard and the other team get in our heads a little too much to be honest. I wanted to win this game more than any game I’ve ever played thus far especially since it was my last game as a Vandebilt Lady Terrier, and I know you guys wanted to win so badly too. I’m proud of our team for making it to the State finals every year that the seniors now have been at Vandebilt. It’s a great accomplishment and a positive from all this. Coach Phil was right when he said so many teams wish they could be us right now. Not every team gets the chance to do what we have done. I want all of you to know that it has been an amazing 4 years of High School soccer for me, and I wish it didnt have to end. I cherish every moment spent with you all.”
Do those sound like the words of a loser to you?
They don’t to me either.
I don’t care who has the rings on their fingers – the Vandebilt girls are winners where it matters most!
Till next time; keep fighting the good fight.
Vandebilt Catholic standout Meghan Philp pushes the ball in a recent match. Despite losing in the state finals for three-straight seasons, Philp and her teammates are winners in TPT sports editor Casey Gisclair’s eyes.