By Ryan Herron
From exhilaration to heartbreak in a matter of seconds. Utter joy in celebration as our bench stormed the field. Complete silence in dejection as the referee’s final whistle sounded.
I’ve been a varsity player for two years, yet never once have I experienced the euphoria felt after your body connects with the ball and sends it to the back of the net.
But that changed on Monday, February 9th when the La Cañada Boys’ Varsity Soccer team faced off against Monrovia in a matchup that would determine the Rio Hondo League champion.
Filled with passion, the two teams fought back and forth throughout the game. It came down to a 2-2 game; 4 minutes ticked away on the scoreboard. A few passes strung together by the talented Monrovia offense lead to a goal; 3-2, in favor of Monrovia.
Sadness and defeat weighed down the hearts of the La Cañada players, believing that any chance at a league title had just vanished.
La Cañada placed the ball on the center of the field, calmed their emotions, and marched forward. The clock came to a halt at two minutes, signaling the entrance into stoppage time.
Within moments, the Spartans had been awarded a corner kick. That was when the “this-is-it” attitude kicked in. La Cañada loaded the goalie box with all 11 of their players; Monrovia countered by bringing back all 11 of their players.
Usually stationed on the top of the goalie box, this time I was positioned smack dab in the middle of the skirmish. As 22 players tussled for position, I knew something had to happen, or Monrovia would come away victorious.
As a senior, this was it for me. The last two minutes on Monrovia’s turf field. The last time to avenge last year’s semifinal loss against Monrovia. The last chance to bring home a Rio Hondo League title.
As the corner kick floated into the mob of players, I saw the ball was headed towards one person and one person only. And that person was me.
Head to ball. Ball to head. All I had to do was put my head to the ball and direct it towards the goal. In only a matter of milliseconds, I could feel the nerves building up inside me.
I felt the force of the ball hit my head. I saw it cross the line. As our entire entire bench cleared, I sprinted uncontrollably towards midfield. I was ecstatic, our team was ecstatic. I had never felt such a rush of adrenaline and happiness.
The next two minutes to finish out the game went by in a blur. After a controversial foul called on me, Monrovia netted a penalty kick to win the game 4-3. Just like that--done.
After such sensational joy two minutes prior, I felt completely dejected. Face down on the field, I was empty. The elation was gone. It was if it had never happened.
The five minute time period encompassed the extremes of my emotions. I went from 0 to 100 and then back to 0 in a matter of minutes.
Treasure the little things in life. Nothing stays forever, so enjoy it while it lasts.
With the loss, the Spartans clinched a second place bid in the Rio Hondo League. They’ll finish off their season against Blair High School on Wednesday, February 10th, and then look to prepare for next week’s first round of CIF.
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LA CANADA, PROUD AND GRAND. ALMA MATER SHALL FOREVER STAND.