The SBS Jingle Bell Classic: A Night of Soccer, Perseverance, and Community
I jogged up to the goal, keeping my eyes locked down. With my foot, I rolled the soccer ball to its designated spot on the white circle and slowly retreated—three steps backward, one to the left.
Me. The goal. A goalie standing in between, arms outstretched and knees bouncing in anticipation. At the sound of the referee’s whistle, I took a deep breath. With my heart pounding and my attention locked onto the back of the net, I ran up and kicked.
Every year, our school selects a home match to celebrate both our women’s and men’s soccer teams, branding it the Jingle Bell Classic.
As a member of the women’s team for the past four years, I’ve always looked forward to the event as a time to participate in a sport I love while being cheered on by my peers and parents. However, as this year’s JBC date approached, I harbored a shred of nervousness amidst the usual overwhelming anticipation.
As a senior, it dawned on me that this would be my final time playing at the JBC. Adding to my jitters was the fact that our opponent for the evening was The Emery/Weiner School, a team with an excellent soccer program and a long-time school rival.
As I changed into my uniform, I tried to imagine what the night would bring forth. Energy buzzed around the locker room as the team prepared for the match. We were extremely excited—yet inevitably nervous.
However, the moment I walked onto the field and scanned the stands, I knew I had nothing to fear. Parents from both the women’s and men’s teams were sprinkled across the seats decorating the bleachers with Christmas lights and ribbons. As we warmed up, the speakers overhead played light-hearted holiday music, putting us all in an upbeat mood. And as the game began, I looked up to see my classmates standing, cheering our team on.
Energy buzzed across the field as we played, whether passing, sprinting, or heading the ball. The combination of hard work, along with our fans’ encouragement, propelled us forward, and the resulting game was extremely challenging yet thrilling. By the time the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read 1-1, thanks to a well-earned goal by Mary Claire Torn ‘24. Penalty kicks would be the way to break the tie.
As the team gathered in a circle for a talk before the kicks commenced, we were all intimidated, yet we all agreed that we were at home—this was our school, and we were ready to make our fans proud. We stood in a line as we waited, jittery yet determined.
Jogging up to take my kick, I could feel the blood pumping in my head and the slight tremble of my hands. However, as I set up the ball right in front of the goal, I heard a collection of voices calling out from the stands. My parents, my teachers, my friends—they all yelled out to me, cheering my name as I stood, ready to take my shot.
The moment the ball hit the back of the net, I heard screams erupt from the bleachers and I couldn’t help but break into a grin. Cheering my other teammates on, I was jumping and clapping along with everyone else in unison.
We won the game, fair and square, and when the final penalty kick flew into the goal, the team ran into a huddle, hugging and yelling in sweet victory. My friends and family awaited us on the sidelines, ready to congratulate us.
The night was everything I could have asked for, and more. Sitting up on the stands with my friends, I had the opportunity to sip on some hot chocolate and cheer the men’s team on, keeping a lookout for my younger brother on the field. Second Baptist has always resembled a tight community, but this specific experience left me truly appreciating its benefits.
And although both soccer matches required excruciating effort from both the women’s and men’s teams, I can confidently say that our spirited fans who came out to watch made all the difference. It was an amazing experience as my final JBC and certainly a moment I will never forget.
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