- By Greg E. Wilder
"It's not how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up". In its various forms, this inspirational message has been spoken by Abraham Lincoln, Vince Lombardi, and even Rocky Balboa. Although the words have changed, the meaning remains the same. Persistence has its rewards.
It is a fact of life imprinted into us when we learn how to ride a bike. You fall. You get up. You brush off the dirt. You pick up your bike. You fall again. Then one day you learn how and you never forget.
The last week of September, the Lansing Girls Soccer Team suffered three emotional losses over five days which brought them to 7-4 overall on the season. On September 30th, though, they brushed off the dirt and took the field in a rematch from with the Owego Apalachin (1-7).
The match started with several possession changes as both Teams battled to gain an advantage. Play remained balanced until an Owego goal at 22:37. From there, both Teams struggled to take control but a free kick save by Lansing goalkeeper Iris Boerman at the 27:00 mark redirected the Bobcat offense allowing Lulani Haslinger to break loose and tie the score at 1-1. Abbie Jones, weaving through three Owego players, would strike at 33:37 and give Lansing a 2-1 lead. A well placed corner kick allowed Nicole Montague to capitalize on an Owego keeper misread and the Lansing Lady Bobcats went into halftime up 3-1.
The second half opened much the same way the match had started. Both Teams made several runs at each other until Owego converted on a breakaway bringing the score to 3-2. Around the half way mark, Gwen Gisler would assist Jones on her second goal of the day giving the Bobcats a 4-2 lead. Owego would then rally at 34:33 and 37:40 bringing the score to a 4-4 tie at the end of regulation.
As the stadium lights warmed up for overtime, Lansing, as a Team, met in front of their bench. After a few words from Coach Stickel, the players huddled up. Embracing each other and swaying back and forth, you could hear the slow build of the Lady Bobcats familiar pre-game chant. "Whose house? Cat's house! Whose house? Cat's house!"
With a renewed energy, both Teams took the field of the first overtime period determined to best the other. It would be a familiar experience as each would continue to exchange possessions with no Team gaining a significant edge. With less than :45 in the final overtime period, and the score tied at 4-4, a series of possession changing whistles lead to Lansing senior Captain Gisler delivering a long ball to the deep corner of the left side of the field. Haslinger and two Owego players would chase the ball to the end line as the clock continued to inch closer to zero. But it was Haslinger who took one touch on the ball and with it served up a perfect pass to the front of the goal where Lauren Evanek would score with :12 left on the clock.
In response to the 5-4 win, Coach Stickel would share the following: "Every season is defined by certain moments. These moments define the players and the Team. Tonight will go down as one of our defining moments."
Often overlooked are the gains made by the moments when we fall. Those who get up and brush the dirt off can create defining moments for themselves. On September 30th, 2019, the Lansing Girls Soccer Team created one of those moments.