What makes being a CBA athlete special?
When the clock hit 80 minutes on the scoreboard last Thursday, I was really upset. After pouring their hearts out on the field, the CBA soccer season came to an end at the hands of St. Augustine by the score of 1-0. A season that would end without a championship for the first time in a long time for this storied program.
As I watched in disbelief as St. Augustine wildly celebrated on the field as if they had just won the Super Bowl, I grew angry. How dare they be so boisterous after winning a Sectional Championship? After beating us for the first time in nearly a decade? Have they no respect?
Almost immediately upon thinking those words I caught myself and thought,
“This is why I love this place. This is why I came here 20 years ago. This is why our boys come here today. For this reason.”
If teams didn’t celebrate after beating us, I guess we really wouldn’t be worth playing to begin with. I guess we wouldn’t be who we so proudly believe we are. I guess we wouldn’t be CBA.
Let them celebrate. The bigger the celebration, the more it validates exactly what we cherish so much about this place. That it’s special. That being an athlete here, playing on one of our teams, is special.
It means something to beat CBA. And we should all be grateful for that.
Every sport here tonight understands this. We see it in our opponents faces. We feel it during competition.
It means something to compete against CBA. And you wouldn’t want it any other way.
It means something because of our coaches, who dedicate their lives to prepare you to be the best you can be.
It means something because of our alumni, who came before us and set the standard of excellence for this institution.
It means something because of our parents, who sacrifice time and treasure that allow you the privilege of attending this school.
It means something because of our student-athletes, who relentlessly pursue greatness in all that they do, each and every day at The Academy.
It means something to wear those three letters on your chest.
As I turned my attention that night from St. Augustine to our team, I was inspired.
I saw 17 and 18 year old boys, not typically a group that freely emotes their feelings, crying as they hugged one another, saying words that men do not say to each other enough.
I love you.
“I love you man,” I heard over and over as teammates embraced.
“I loved playing with you this year.” “I loved being your teammate.” “I’ll never forget this year.”
I saw coaches, grown men, moved to tears. Not due to disappointment or sadness, but because they were overwhelmed with pride.
As I watched this unfold, consoling players as I walked by them, I realized something. The 2019 CBA Soccer Team wouldn’t be taking home a championship. Instead, they would be taking home something much greater. They wouldn’t be walking out holding a trophy, they would be walking out holding each other.
This is what makes us special. Not the wins. Not the championships. The relationships you build. The lessons you take away. The moments, good and bad, that you’ll cherish forever.
To our soccer seniors, I’ll miss watching you play together. Thank you for emptying the tank and giving your all every time you wore our colors.