Elliot was disappointed at the end of his soccer game, last night. His team lost: 4-0. He got to play for 17 of the game’s 80 minutes. Which, in fairness, was the most minutes he’s played in any varsity game. Still, it was hard to understand why he wouldn’t get even more minutes on Senior Night. Especially when he played as well as he did with the minutes he got.
I wanted to tell him that I shared some of his confusion and frustration. At the same time, I wanted to tell him that I was proud of him and the way he’s persevered throughout his time on the soccer team. I wanted to tell him that he was deeply loved, regardless of his playing time or his performance on the pitch. I wanted him to look up and look around, to see all the other things he has going for him.
And that’s where Elliot’s cheering section came in clutch.
They hooted and hollered for him as he walked off the field, toward our spot on the track. They gave him hugs and high-fives and fist-bumps. They showed him their homemade posters and shared their favorite moments from the game. They were living proof of the love and community and support that surrounded Elliot, regardless of the night’s details.
We were thrilled by all the friends and family who turned out for the game. Elliot’s cheering section was 25 strong — in a setting where total fan attendance is typically in the range of 100-200. They were fun and positive and loud. They made an otherwise-forgettable night memorable.
When our family all got back home, after 10:00 PM, we talked through some of the disappointment and frustration that Elliot experienced over the course of the evening. But then I started to show Elliot some of the pictures from the game. Like the snapshot of the moment when Meg stole Seth’s hat…
Like the “Elliot Asp is My Hero” sign that Daniel and Halle lovingly made and carried at the game…
And we just scrolled through all of the smiling faces who were there for him.
They were living pictures of joy and encouragement.
And Elliot’s smile grew bigger and broader as we kept scrolling through the images — and the realization of what he’s accomplished through his four years of high school.
If you were there last night: THANK YOU for the time, energy, and expense you invested to make the night special for Elliot. It worked.
There’s still one more home soccer game left: this upcoming Tuesday, September 24th, at 7:00 PM. We’re going to have a tailgate party in the parking lot of Stanton Middle School, starting at 6:00 PM — and we’d love to have friends and family join us, again.
There are no guarantees how Tuesday’s game will turn out. It’s against another good team. The top team from our league, in fact. And without the Senior Night dynamics, it’s uncertain if or how much Elliot might play.
Whatever happens, though, we love our Elliot — and we love our community in Kent.