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Mindy’s Story

The Love of my Life

Although I cannot specifically remember the first time I came in contact with the one thing that would grab a hold of my heart and consume most of my young adolescent life, I can remember anxiously awaiting the end of 5th grade. I had been waiting so long, and all I wanted to do was lace up a new pair of cleats and run out on the field like a mad woman, scoring goal after goal. Finally the wait ended and I was as ready as I could be. What I didn’t know was that my role on the team would transition very quickly from scoring goals to stopping opponents from scoring. If I couldn’t outscore the other team, I could certainly stop them from scoring. So I put on my first pair of goalie gloves. Nike. Blue and white. Size 5. I was in LOVE, not with a boy, but with a game. A feeling. A crave to be the best goal keeper I could possibly be.
            High school opened my eyes to a whole new level of competition. Thanks to my parents and their wonderfully combined DNA, being athletic was not something I had to think twice about. It just came naturally, as did the cat-like reflexes I was born with. These instinctive characteristics are what earned me a 4-year varsity starting position on my high school team. Over the years, I accumulated recognition and awards for my outstanding performances in goal. Most-improved player, most-valuable player, athlete of the year, all valley, all conference, class B all state, among others.
            Senior year came quickly, as did the decision everyone in my class had to make. College. I had always planned on furthering my education, but of course my academics would come second to my love for soccer. First I decided where I wanted to play soccer, and then I chose a program of study from the selection the University had to offer. I had been recruited by a few schools in Maine, but growing up in a small town I wanted something bigger. Therefore, without much hesitation, I decided I would attend University of Southern Maine (USM). My goal was to dominate tryouts and earn the starting keeper position as an incoming freshman. For those of you who know me, you know that I did just that. I received "Rookie of the Year" for our conference and went on to be selected as the goalie for the All Little East 2nd team. In 2009, I transferred home to northern Maine, where my intent was to finish my program of studies. Biology. Soccer had had its place in my life for a while, and I thought it was time to move on to the next chapter of my life.
            When the coach for University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK) heard of my returning, he immediately seized the opportunity and called me up with a proposal. He needed a goal keeper, and I was the one he wanted. Clearly my love for soccer was still in the forefront, because I was unable to turn him down. Without much hesitation, I made the decision to finish my soccer career in front of the same crowd who had spent endless hours cheering me on throughout high school.
            My first year at UMFK was a very successful one for my team. We qualified for the NAIA National Tournament, after clinching the Sunrise Conference Championship. Although we went on to be eliminated during the first round of playoffs in California, I did manage to set a National Record on most saves in a single game.  24 saves. This was by far the most intense game I have ever played, earning me an All-American honorable mention.
            So now, you are probably wondering why I am sharing all this with you. No, it's certainly not to "toot my own horn" (I hate loud noises :) ); I wasn't the kind of athlete who would flaunt my abilities. It was never about me, but about my team, and I was going to be the best for them, which in turn would only strengthen the bond between my field players and me. But I share all this with you to paint a picture, allowing you to really understand how much soccer was a part of who I was. Soccer was a consuming desire, the center of my life, which held me captive for nearly 20 years.
          Finally came my senior year of college, 2010. I always wanted to have a collegiate senior game (one of the main reasons I decided to return to soccer when transferring); to be recognized for my dedication to a sport, one that I excelled at, and to say thanks to everyone who supported me along the way. Ironically, we make plans for ourselves, but then life happens, resulting in a new plan, a new journey, an unexpected journey.  

  

Sunday, September 12, 2010 was the day my new life began…


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