November 5, 2010
Our woman’s soccer team plays to win the post-season tournament in our conference tomorrow (the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in NCAA Division 3). We’ve already won the regular season title and won our first round game in the tournament. That was a 3-0 defeat of Hanover College, each of the goals a technically elegant accomplishment.
Spirits are running high here. Our women have never before won a regular season conference championship, and (I blush to say this) none of Earlham’s 16 athletic teams has won a conference championship since 1996.
Many of us on campus are wearing Earlham gear today: sweatshirts and hats and scarves with Earlham’s logo and colors. About two dozen of us from the faculty and staff went over to the dining hall at noon. We went out on the balcony that overlooks the student dining area to give a shout-out to our players. In good Earlham form we cheered “Fight, fight, Inner Light, kill Quakers kill. Knock ’em dead, beat ’em senseless, do it till they reach consensus.”
Afterwards, I went down to talk to the team members, who were gathered around a big table. I told them that they should remember that they already are champions, our champions. I told them they had nothing to prove tomorrow, to themselves or to anyone else. And I said that I hoped they would approach tomorrow’s games with a mind to enjoy the game as much as they possibly could, that if they played with joy and confidence they would play at their very, very best.
This team does represent the very best of Earlham: they come from near and far, they excel in the classroom and community life as well as on the field, they practice and prepare with discipline, and they triumph by playing extraordinarily well as a team, knowing and trusting each other.
They are our champions.