A tribute to the Tornado boys soccer team
I cannot get over yesterday...Storm Lake Tornados playing in the CHAMPIONSHIP match was STELLAR! Entering the match the cheers from these stands was nearly as if entering a World Cup match - cheers in English; cheers in Spanish - the beat was infectious!
To those who grew up in the SL gym with basketball fever - the cheers were like BASKETBALL - but for the sport that has brought a new era to the town! To watch the fascinating ball skills of these players, taking on each Norwalk opponent 1v1 - begging for the challenge only to play with the confidence and patience of a player born with this sport in his blood - passed down from generation to generation! Each player played with their mind and their foot work in one motion - forcing a defender stuck in their boots with only option to give chase.
Yesterday a young SL player, jersey tucked and eyes forward, you could almost hear his heart beat in sync of his foot's touch to the ball; knock, knock, knock... defender bent knees as if he was prepared to pounce, and then Left-Right-Left; explode SL player's body and ball soared with speed and grace! And, the defender - stuck.... Cheers from from the roaring STORM LAKE CROWD, clapping to the chant-- "HE's a FRESHMAN! HE's a FRESHMAN!" My body leaned over the fence with pride and desire to only have the chance to let these boys know, they have brought a NEW kind of PRIDE to this town! My knees shook; my voice hoarse... I tried to hold back my emotion and desire for these boys to win on the pitch - but I could not hold back. They needed to know - people of today and past days were there to cheer! The shot that ended this match was INCREDIBLE. But, the skills these boys have goes far beyond a single shot. The score may have read 2-1, but the 1 = they WON the match, just not the outcome...
To every boy who laced up his boots and tucked in his jersey, from a girl who grew into this sport that fills my heart, I would like to honor each of you and say, Our roots may come from different lands - But, BOYS of the PITCH- THIS IS TORNADO COUNTRY!!
We Tornadoes don't take defeat so come on everybody do THE VICTORY BEAT! Pride and emotion of sheer gratitude to this highly dedicated, highly talented TORNADO SOCCER TEAM! A team YOUR TOWN (those residing there now and in the past) may all know - your team has created something magical, and our hearts beat to each knock on the ball! We will push up the field with you!
Paula Queen graduated from SLHS in '93, played college soccer, coached soccer in Lincoln clubs, was briefly an assistant coach at BVU, and played on soccer teams in Chicago. She retains her passion for the game, and wrote the following on Facebook after seeing her hometown team play in the State Final Saturday. It appears here by permission.