A good friend of mine (who moved here about a year ago from Switzerland with her family) has a daughter who is the same age as Thing One. She's had a rocky year adjusting to school in the US, but has finally found her groove and is doing well.
The daughter tried out for travel soccer this spring, the same club for which Thing One plays. She'd only played Rec-level soccer before, but went to the tryouts and did her best. Since the coach of the girls' team at our local high school (who is also one of the travel soccer club's officials) also happens to be a friend of mine, I put in a good word for the kid at the time. Not to subvert the coaches' decision in any way, just to say, "this is a good kid from a nice family." So many of the problems these sorts of teams have to deal with result from interpersonal dynamics: in a situation where playing skills etc. are equal, the coaches would always rather pick a good kid for one of their teams than a total brat with JA parents.
Unfortunately, when all was said and done, this girl didn't make the cut. She took the news as well as could have been expected, although she was very disappointed, and made plans to play another season of Rec soccer. This was a couple of weeks ago.
Then tonight, I was at the dojo, watching the kids' taekwondo classes through the window. My friend happened to be standing right next to me (her kids take taekwondo as well--this is how we met) when my cell phone rang. It was the girls' soccer coach.
One of the girls on the A team had decided to play elsewhere. One of the B players was moving up to A to replace her. And the coach wanted to know if I thought my friend's daughter would be interested in taking the last B team slot. She was one of three players on the bubble for the open spot, and the coach remembered what I'd said about her and her family. I handed the phone to my friend on the spot, and she joyfully accepted that last open position for her daughter. Who promptly broke into the most energetic happy dance I've ever seen when she heard the news a few minutes later.
She wouldn't have been in consideration tonight if her soccer skills weren't up to par. That was the first cut for this last open spot. But she got the final nod because she's a great kid. Her parents have done a wonderful job of raising her and are genuinely good human beings. And isn't THAT the feel-good story of the evening???