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I often find it difficult to reflect upon my favorite memory so far at Bellarmine, because there are so many to choose from. While considering the multiple events that occurred thus far, one in particular stands above the rest. March 31, 2011 started as an average day in Washington with rain that never ceased. However this day would resonate in my memory for years to follow.
Algebra class concluded with the end of the day announcements notifying the school that the JV soccer game would be canceled. I left school that day upset I would not be able to play against Olympia, until a friend notified me that Joe Waters wanted me to play for them that night. Excitement and nervousness rushed through my body as I realized I would finally sit on Varsity’s bench.
I arrived an hour before kickoff to be greeted in the parking lot. The team watched film from previous games and discussed the elaborate strategy each play is composed of. When we left for the field, I was extremely nervous, contemplating whether or not I would be prepared for this game. The only reoccurring thought that got me through the warm ups was that I would only be on the bench the whole game. This soothed my overwhelming fear of failure.
Joe Waters called the team in and I was in pure shock to hear my named called on the starting lineup. It felt as the whole team was looking at me in surprise. There was no way I just heard “Brendan Brunner” as the starting defender. The team lined up for the national anthem and I was suddenly shaking. This disbelief was also accompanied by an uneasy feeling of pride which confirmed my shock.
The game went by as a blur, yet when Kurtis Pederson scored our first goal, I was overcome by relief. I knew that even if I made a mistake, at least we would end with a tie, maintaining our so far perfect season. A few people I am extremely grateful for are Mark Beck and Michael Dick, because their didactic patience assured me I can only do my best. Yet for them, my best was nothing short of what was expected of Varsity.
The final play of the game nearly gave Joe Waters and I a heart attack because Olympia was close to stealing a victory from us. Thankfully Eric Botjer made up for my biggest mistake, ensuring a win. The referees whistle rang incessantly and suddenly I could not help but smile. I had just completed my first Varsity game and the result was a win for our team.
The multiple hugs and congratulations gave me a euphoric feeling I will never forget. I found myself unable to stop smiling. The car ride home with my mother was incredible; hearing her commentary of the game dignified me. However, I found myself thanking God countless times for the unforgettable moment I fortunately experienced here at Bellarmine.