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Friday, October 4, 2013
Kick Cancer game touched us

By Arin Gilliland

Kentucky Soccer
After the game, those who wanted to participate were given a flower, then placed it on the goal line during a moment of silence to remember a lost loved one.

Last week was one that always sits heavy on everyone’s hearts. It was the week of our annual Kick Cancer game.

Everyone has been affected or touched by cancer in some way. Personally, Sunday’s game was probably one of the most important to me in the season. So, from the beginning of the week, the emotions were high. We knew we had to channel those emotions in ways that would help us compete and not hinder us.

The locker room vibe was a very different one that evening. Instead of our usual dancing and going crazy, it was kind of somber. However, it wasn’t a bad somberness.

You could see and feel the fire in everyone, but we weren’t physically showing it. To be honest, I was a little concerned we might come out flat because of it, but I trusted my team and knew they would be ready to play, especially that day.

This game meant so much in so many ways. Not only was it our annual Kick Cancer game, but it was also on our home field, against a Georgia team that hadn’t been beaten in the SEC. If we won, it would move us into second in the conference. There isn’t a person on this planet who wouldn’t have a reason to play with all her heart in this game.

Before the game, we celebrated the life of a very special young lady and our honorary ball girl, Allison Berger. She and her family (Steve and Crystal Berger) forever changed multiple people’s lives on this team, and they did the honors of presenting the game ball before the match, followed by a moment of silence in remembrance of Allison.

We came out ready to play. Every person on that field had channeled every bit of emotion they had bottled up. This game was much more than just a soccer game for us, and we weren’t settling for anything less than a win. After a long battle against a great Georgia team, we finally found the back of the net to take home a 1-0 win.

Afterward we held a ceremony with all the fans and family and whoever else wanted to participate in the remembrance of their loved ones, family and friends who had fallen to cancer. Everyone received a flower that was donated by a local grocery company and placed it on the goal line inside the goal, when they were ready, during a moment of silence.

This was a very emotional time for me and my teammate Dani Krohn, as we have both lost our mothers to cancer.

The amount of love and support from this team is incomparable to anything you can even imagine. This team is more than just a group of girls coming together. We are a family.