My First Soccer Camp Away From Home by Brooke Wigmore
edited: Wednesday, November 28, 2007
By Jim Joyce
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, August 20, 2007
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When you're eleven years old, the thought of spending several nights away from home isn't the most conforting thought ... or is it?
By: Jim Joyce's granddaughter, Brooke Wigmore, age 11
June 15, 2006
First appeared in "Fair Game, the Women's Soccer Magazine", issue 4, 2006, 45-46
Reprinted with permission from Brooke Wigmore.
The first time I heard my soccer team was going to UCF (University of Central Florida in Orlando) for an overnight camp I FREAKED! I remember thinking “I can’t do this”. But then again I was really excited. My own dorm room with a key and everything, and also I could play the sport I loved most - SOCCER!
It was the week before the camp, and I was shaking - I couldn’t tell if I was excited or nervous. I can remember my teammates and I talking about how excited we all were, and at the same time thinking that it was going to be the first time any of us had been away from home, and our parents, for a resident camp.
Then finally it was the day we were all waiting for - the day we left for camp. My mom, my dad and I were all sitting in the car. I was watching the rain drops glide silently down the window. I then lifted my head in amazement as to how big the University was. I hopped out of the car and headed to go get my dorm room key. My lucky room number was 212. When we walked in, I helped my mom unpack my luggage and make my bed. I stood out in the hall impatiently waiting for my roommate to show up. All of a sudden there she came. It was my best friend, Marla. I couldn’t believe it, we hugged and I told her the rooms were GREAT! Then it was time for all our parents to head off. As we were all hugging our parents goodbye, I can remember my dad whispering in my ear “I love you and remember to play good”. He knew better than anyone that this was my chance to shine, and believe me, I did to.
We went straight into an evening session, which was mostly matches. That night I was playing to the best of my ability because everyone knows it’s good to show a GREAT first impression. Then my teammates and I waited patiently to see if they called out any of our names. Finally - “Brooke Wigmore” - and I raised my hand in joy. I had been recognized! Then we all headed back to our rooms for showers and bed. Marla and I shared a suite with two of our other teammates, Lauren and J.B.. Lauren called “shower” first, I called shower second, J.B. called shower third, which left Marla with of course fourth. After I got out of the shower, I brushed my hair and teeth. Then I lay there in my bed thinking of home. My sisters, my dog and cat, and most important - my parents. They worked so hard to get me here. I picked up my cell phone and called home. When my mom answered the phone, I told her how excited I was and how much I missed them, also how much I loved her. Then my dad wanted to talk to me. He told me how proud he was and he loved me more than anything. I told him I loved him with all my heart and we hung up. I pulled up my covers and went to sleep.
The next morning I woke to the beeping of my alarm clock. It was 6:30 and I was still exhausted from the day before. I put on my soccer clothes, grabbed my key and headed down to the dining hall. My eyes were still half shut when I walked in the door, but they slowly opened to the smell of bacon, eggs and biscuits. I grabbed a plate and searched for food. I got my food, and Marla and I headed to find a table. Our whole soccer team sat together. We all were still half-asleep so our sentences still didn’t make much sense. When I finished eating, some of my other teammates and I headed back to the dorms to put on the rest of our soccer gear. As we were all walking out to the fields, all of a sudden it started to pour down rain. All of us looked up at the camp instructor for a signal to head back inside, but instead he nodded his head and told us to keep walking. When we got out to the fields, we started with a warm up. We jogged up and down the fields with and without the ball. Then we split up into groups. My whole soccer team was in one group, and we had Coach Savage (aka Coach “Cabbage”). I can remember my socks and shoes being soaked from the rain and the wet fields. When we had finished morning session, we headed over to lunch - I was starving. I started with pizza, then had pasta. When Marla and I were finished eating, we went back to the dorm rooms and changed clothes and socks, and headed back out for the afternoon session.
Whenever we went back to the fields, we always stretched out, just like our club coach had taught us, and then headed over to the specific field we were training on. We either practiced drills that Coach Cabbage would teach us, or we practiced our “small-sided” games - 1 v 1, 2 v 2, or 3 v 3. Marla and I always ended up on opposite teams and had to compete against each other, but both of us enjoyed it since we are the best of friends. We have been playing soccer together, on the same team, for over 5 years, and enjoy each other so much that we spend the night at each other’s house whenever our parents will let us (usually on weekends, or during the summer months).
Each night, after dinner, we headed straight back onto the fields for night sessions that lasted from 7:00 to 9:00. By day 3 of the 5-day camp, my legs were killing me!
On day 4, I was even more exhausted since it was more soccer training than I had ever been through in that short of a time. The “breaks” on the field came whenever the coaches would lead us in some games that were not related to soccer. Once we played “Escape from Ethiopia”, where there were about 20 players on a team, and one player tried to run to a distant line on the field in order to “free” their teammates held in “jail”. If someone from an opposing team caught you before you made it to the line, your teammates were still in jail. I really enjoyed this game since I was able to “free” my team by dodging and zig-zaging past the other team all the way to the line.
Finally, the last day of camp arrived and my teammates and I were so happy that it was over, but so sad that it was ending!
I had experienced something that I will remember for the rest of my life – I stayed overnight at my very first resident camp! I had actually stayed in a dorm room, with a roommate, and suitemates, with 9 other teammates, without whom I would not have enjoyed it nearly as much as I did. I don’t know what the other girls thought, but the thought that kept going through my mind was … “If this is what college is like, I am so ready for it!”
That was the last thing I thought of as I was in the back seat of our car going back home and I laid my head down on the seat. Before we were five minutes down the road, I had to just close my eyes and rest …… and remember how awesome everything had been for the best 5 days of my life!