This post is a letter to the amazing team I have had the privilege of playing football with for the past few months. On a couple of different occasions I have attempted to say these words, but I find the words of my heart are far more effectively expressed in writing. So here goes.*
Thank you, a thousand times, thank you. I have been honoured by your acceptance, and even though you may not ever fully understand the weight you all lifted from my soul by making me a part of your team I assure you I will never forget it.
What I really wanted to say before our game was how proud I am to have had the opportunity to play on this team. In my 23 short years I have been on many teams. I have been in every role, I've gone from captain to benchwarmer, I've been a coach and a spectator and everything in between, but this time was different.
This team, FC Nelson, stands for something. Mullet calls is Pride, and none of you should ever doubt that you have something to be proud of. I wish I could tell you how many times I stopped this season and took note of the vast improvements each of you has made. If you look back from the beginning and see how you've changed you should feel nothing but immense pride.
Pride is knowing you did everything in your power to improve upon a situation before you walked away from it. Pride is strength of character through adversity. Pride is family. As I said, I've been on many teams, but this is the team that feels like home.
I've never thought I could laugh so genuinely with people who were complete strangers a few short months ago. I never imagined joining a football team would shape so much of my travelling experience. I am so sad to leave you all, and so appreciative of the generosity, acceptance, and friendship you freely bestowed on me. I wish you all the absolute best, and I hope if life takes you overseas you will find a group of unsuspecting locals who will end up saying nice things about you and buying you indian food. If you're ever in the states** you will always find a home with me.
*I really must thank Uli, a manager at Tasman Bay, for assuming that because I'm an American female with a history of playing soccer I must be good. I appreciate his optimism, though I fear it may have been poorly placed.
** If I'm not in the states you also have a home wherever in the world I am, even if I'm sleeping in my car and am homeless like Phoebe thinks I am.