Blog: Last Time Out w/ Candace Rushing
Monday, October 24, 2011
Unforgettable.  That is the word that comes to my mind when reminiscing about my last two home games that I played as a member of the Centenary women's soccer team.  It is always challenging to accept the end of something great, however once one can accept the change, he enables himself to be truly reflective and appreciative of the goodness that 'something' has brought him.  Thankfully, I have been able to acknowledge the change and find value in the goodness I have been given.  Playing on Mayo Field throughout four seasons has provided me with an immense amount of pride and joy.  This past weekend was evidence of that for me, regardless of the result.

Mary-Hardin Baylor and Howard Payne University laced their cleats up just twenty-four hours apart from one another as each team prepared to take Mayo Field.  Mary-Hardin Baylor proved to be a difficult team to put away early.  We were not expecting to win easily, however after looking at their stats, we knew, coming into the game, that we were capable of winning.  It was not until the 22nd minute, however, that Traci Lee would put us up 1-0.  The score remained 1-0 until just one minute into the second half when junior Kelly Fossard netted her first goal of the season.  We were able to hold the game at 2-0 and walk off with a victory on the weekend. 

Howard Payne presented us with a bigger challenge.  They were larger, faster, and stronger than Mary-Hardin Baylor.  Playing within twenty-four hours of a previous game is so difficult to do.  My team played our hearts out on Friday and twenty-four hours later were asked to do it again.  Our minds and bodies were not adjusted and therefore we looked sluggish from the get go.  Howard Payne was able to capitalize on our tired legs and put away two goals before we were able to score.  Junior Holden Penney stepped up for us and sank in two goals in just five minutes from each other (80th & 85th minutes) to tie the game at 2-2 and send us into overtime.  Unfortunately, after playing just seconds under ten minutes of overtime, Howard Payne finished a shot on what some saw as an assist from a hand in the box.  The game ended 3-2, Howard Payne.

Obviously, I would have liked to win both games of my last home weekend with Centenary soccer, but sometimes things do not always happen the way one would wish for it to.  Regardless of the result of the weekend, it was one that I will never forget for the rest of my life.  Both games were extremely exciting and eventful-how all soccer games should be.  Along with the momentous games was the wonderful senior night that was given in honor of the seniors in the Centenary soccer program.

Saturday, senior night, began with a celebration in the locker room.  Eren, Laura, Catlin, and myself each walked up to our lockers to find scrapbook frames, cards, notes, posters, and candy from out teammates.  Tears were shed and hugs were given as we each took in how precious these years have been.  We were each also given a beautiful ring from James Avery from our teammates as symbol of thankfulness and remembrance.  The occasion continued as we walked onto the field. There were posters with our names on them along with sayings that were characteristic. 

And finally, after our game ended, the senior night recognition began.  We were each called, one by one, to meet Coach Evans and our escorts at the center of the field.  We were greeted with a beautiful plaque from Coach Evans and flowers from our biggest fans.  As we walked out onto the field, words highlighting our accomplishments were read to the crowd.  We all stood together, side-by-side, one last time, on Mayo Field.

As mentioned previously, unforgettable is the word I would coin this past weekend with after reflecting on it.  I recall feeling excited, nervous, sad, happy, thankful, disappointed, appreciative, honored, and more throughout the weekend.  Some say that if one is not invested in something than he/she will not feel any emotions regarding it.  It is clear that not only myself, but also my other fellow seniors, Eren, Laura, and Catlin each feel a tremendous amount of investment into the Centenary women's soccer program.  When I express my deepest gratitude for a wonderful four years of Centenary soccer, I know I am speaking not only for myself, but for Eren, Laura, and Catlin as well. 

I will never forget this time.  Not ever. 

I am not letting go just yet, however.  We have two final games of the season at UT-D on Thursday and at University of the Ozarks on Saturday.  Stay tuned to GoCentenary.com for updates.  Check out some footage from this weekend before you go.

Until next time, my very last time...

-Candace Rushing