Well, the tournament is over and they did it! Redheaded Snippet's team won the gold medal in the Under 16 age group. They were undefeated throughout the entire tournament and beat out 15 other teams from across the nation.
Today's deciding game was almost as exciting as they can get (without going tied into double overtime and three periods of strokes--which happened in a nailbiter last season). The teams were well matched and our girls fought tooth and nail for control of that ball.
No one scored in what seemed to be forever. And then, though I hardly dared to hope it could happen, Redheaded Snippet tipped one in! HURRAH we were ahead 1-0 at the end of the first half!
The second half was no different from the first except that the other team scored one on us. OH NO! More than anything, I was worried about the game ending in a tie and having to go to strokes. I don't know much about field hockey, but I think strokes is a terrible way to end a game, especially one for a medal.
Both teams battled fiercely for the ball and both teams' offensive players were desperately trying to get it in the goal. You could feel the tension in the air and everyone-coaches, players, spectators, parents-was getting all riled up.
The minutes dwindled away, ticking closer and closer to the end...
And then, with only 2 minutes left, Redheaded Snippet tipped another well-placed pass from a teammate into the goal! I thought I was going to jump out of my skin! 2-1 with less than 2 minutes to go!
That second goal seemed to drive the other team into a frenzy, and it sure did do a number on their parents. Turns out, this team has won the gold in this age group for the last nine years. I couldn't help but feel for them when I found that out; Redheaded Snippet's high school team has taken the state title for the last 11 years and I can't imagine what it would be like to fall from such a height.
Somehow, our girls managed to hold the other team off long enough for time to run out and to win the game and the medal! And then I realized Redheaded Snippet had not only scored the winning goal but had scored both of the only goals for her team!
The Viking and I were so proud and so excited for her and Redheaded Snippet's smile was so wide! She had come down to this tournament determined to bring home a gold medal and she had done it! She was flying high!
We had made our way over to the tent for the awards ceremony and were standing around excitedly, waiting for the announcement when I saw a man approach Redheaded Snippet and call her name. She turned to him and he said, "Don't run off after you get your medal. I'd like to record you for the Internet."
That's when I saw the press badge hanging around his neck. Redheaded Snippet glanced at me quickly and when I smiled reassuringly, she looked up at him and said with a broad smile of her own, "OK!"
Her very first interview. It was for a website that follows girls' high school field hockey all across the U.S. The high school's team has been featured on the site several times, but never has Redheaded Snippet been singled out for it before. It's probably not a name that most people would recognize, but it was still unbelievably exciting for us!
I, of course, texted everyone to let them know and have been checking the website every five minutes to see if the story is up yet (it isn't as of 1:30 am).
So here we are, at the end of our trip, having survived the heat and the cooler ban, having spent very little money and avoided eating out at all (except for two ice cream excursions), having enjoyed time together doing things that cost no money whatsoever and bringing home a shiny medal and a small taste of glory.
We leave for home tomorrow. And to cap off the trip we're going to stop for a steak dinner on the way home with a gift card we've been saving for a special occasion. We've been looking forward to this all week long. Even the kids keep talking about it.
I have to say, aside from sleeping in my own bed tomorrow night, I think I'm looking forward to this dinner more than anything! I'm not even going to think about the amount of laundry I'll have to do when I get home!