As a sports editor who covers multiple teams for up to eight local high schools, I try not to be a “homer” for one particular team.
But I have to admit, after doing a story on Carson City-Crystal’s girls soccer team, it’s hard to not throw on an Eagles hat and root for them.
Mallory Lynch has been with the team since its inaugural year, which was only two years ago, when the school board approved making girls soccer a sanctioned team. An assistant the first year, Lynch is now in her second year as head coach, and, thanks to the school board approving to continue the program, she will likely be heading the team for at least the next two years.
Lynch has been involved in soccer since she was 10 years old and while she will tell you many reasons why she loves the sport, it’s her passion to campaign soccer throughout the school and its community that has me in awe.
For us Americans, soccer isn’t an easy sell. In our “McNow” society, soccer doesn’t have enough action or scoring to keep today’s fan’s attention.
But give credit to Lynch, and her husband, Bryan, a teacher at CC-C, who has helped “sell” the sport to the school’s student body. Together, they managed to recruit as many as 19 girls to participate on this year’s team.
For a small school like CC-C, which enrolls about 900 students, that, to me, is amazing.
Keep in mind that in the spring season, CC-C fields a girls softball team, a track and field team, as well as a rather new skeet shooting team featuring boys and girls.
So, many of the school’s athletes are already involved in other spring sports, leaving slim pickings for available players for soccer.
Perhaps that is why the school board was hesitant in the beginning to make the soccer program a permanent sport rather than giving it a two-year trial run. It didn’t help that only 13 girls signed up last year, with a few of them getting injured, straining those who could play even further.
But this year, the Eagles soccer team has numbers. Not only that, Lynch’s team is hungry, not just for wins but to improve as a program.
Though this year’s team may be challenged to exceed last year’s four wins, owing to a lack of experienced players, I have no doubt these players will do everything in their power to not only win, but to convince the community — as well as school board members — that this team deserves their full support.
To get girls who’ve never played a sport before involved in a sport that most of us aren’t enthused about as much as other sports, it seems, to me, Lynch has already had a successful season. And the Eagles have only played one game this year, so far.
This is what I love about high school sports: Winning doesn’t have to be measured in the wins-and-losses columns.
Winning can be building a new program up that introduces new students to a new sport, students who otherwise wouldn’t be active in a sport at all. Winning can be creating a new atmosphere of team bonding, group cohesion and growing a network of friendship and support. Winning can be providing a fun, interactive activity that promotes health and fitness, organization and structure.
And maybe winning can include earning victories in the win-column. But, as far as I’m concerned, Mallory Lynch and her 2017 Eagles soccer team already have enjoyed a successful year.
I know the pressure to win games will be there throughout the season, but if this group of girls continues to learn and work hard to hone their skills and play as team, and if Lynch continues to sell the sport of soccer as well as she has been, I have no doubt girls soccer will become a permanent staple of Carson City-Crystal athletics.