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Archive for May 25, 2007

May 25, 2007 — Through the eyes of a teen

I’ve been privileged to see a lot of pinpoint passing, amazing goalie saves, dead-eye shooting, and phenomenal athleticism this year in lacrosse.

And then there’s my niece’s 8th-grade team, which played to an 8-8 draw last night against one of its top rivals.

My niece is one of today’s typically over-scheduled children. She swims, plays viola in a youth orchestra, and sings in a traveling girls’ choir.

But in talking with her in the car on the way back home from the game, I didn’t feel as though she had a sense of passion in any of her extracurricular pursuits.

She like to swim; so much so, she quit the middle-school field hockey team to concentrate on the early start of her club season. Yet she doesn’t make the regional time cuts that her older brother does.

She likes music — and the travel. But she doesn’t much go for the “performance” aspect of singing. “I could never be on American Idol,” she says, preferring to be part of a group.

She likes classical and some jazz — “That’s elevator music!” she says of some of today’s smooth-jazz artists. But she doesn’t like singing it. “It’s too simple, and it’s all in thirds,” she says.

She likes the comraderie of lacrosse, and likes to play in the goal cage. But she doesn’t like playing the entire game. “It’s not fair to the other goalies on the team, and I’m not getting any development out in the field.”

Take yesterday’s match. She played goal the first half and the team held a 6-2 lead; it should have been 6-1, but there was an incident where she put the ball down, exited the crease, and let a deputy scoop up the ball. The deputy shoveled up the ball, but it fell over the goal line and into the cage.

They’re middle-schoolers, I kept reminding myself.

But the opposing team came back against the my niece’s replacement in the goal and tied the match. My niece, after her stint in the goal pads, had been playing close defense in those final frightful minutes, then was switched to defense wing in the final minute of play.

With the game tied, the two centers took the final draw. The ball kept squirting out of the draw at about a 30-degree angle and I noticed my niece lining up at the center stripe.

I felt I had to give her a hand. “It’s going left!” I said. “Snap to the draw when the whistle blows!” She moved three steps left where the last couple of draws had landed.

Maybe, just maybe, she’s getting it. She says her top college choice is the University of Oregon, which just happens to have a pretty good lacrosse program developing.

It’s four years before she hits college. I hope she does so with a sense of purpose.