By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi
I set out yesterday to write the story of the second annual Camp Gray vs. Camp Chi Soccer Game (I feel as though this annual event needs a title, a la “The Subway Series,” and perhaps there should be a traveling trophy, a la Paul Bunyan’s Axe – any ideas for both of these would be GREATLY appreciated!). As I sat trying to tell the story of that exciting day, instead of the specific details of the game, my mind wandered mostly to the beauty of being a part of a team (admittedly, this emphasis in my thinking could be motivated by the fact that we lost the game – more details on that in just a bit – or it could be that I’m a part of a really great team…).
Being on staff at Camp Gray means being a part of a team. Mr. Lombardi’s wise words above ring true at Camp Gray. Everyday there are individual commitments to the group effort of positively impacting the lives of kids.
Every member of our team plays an integral role in our mission. Whether you’re loud, quiet, tall, short, musical, artistic, funny, athletic, or from Florida – if you’re a part of this staff, you’re critical to our success. It’s a gift to be a part of the Camp Gray team.
Two summers ago, our team spoke of a weekend recreation event in which our “group effort” would be an attempt to win a sporting event against a neighboring Camp. It was then that our team became a team. What if you took this team that so selflessly serves to impact the lives of thousands of campers and formed a team to compete. Our team became a team, and we competed against a team comprised of the staff of cross-town Camp Chi. Improbably, our team beat their team, and an exciting “rivalry” was born.
Summer 2013 meant a rematch, and it meant we wouldn’t be able to sneak up on Camp Chi, as we did in 2012. It also meant we had an opportunity to fashion jerseys after the international jersey donned by the world’s greatest soccer player, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. To legitimize the quality and excellence of the Camp Gray soccer team, we even found ourselves a sponsor: Thank you Tropical Pools, LLC!
(Folks, if you’re reading this in the greater Oklahoma City metropolitan area, and you’re contemplating having an in-ground swimming pool built for your loved ones, you truly won’t find a swimming pool construction company with more passion and zeal for their craft than Tropical Pools. Since 1981, Tropical Pools has been artistically turning drab backyards into personal paradises. I know what you’re thinking: a youth Camp in Wisconsin attracted a swimming pool company in OKC to sponsor one game? Thanks Dad! Are you interested in sponsoring the 2014 Camp Gray Soccer Team? Put simply, this means offsetting the cost of our jerseys, with the trade-off being that your logo would be affixed to the jerseys and you’d receive publicity in the form of our online web presence – like shout outs on facebook/twitter/and the CG website. Please contact me here for details.)
Game 2 was played on a glorious summer Saturday in July, under skies bluer than the vast waters of Camp’s Lake Jake. Similar to last year, the game was played at Camp Chi. Campers at Camp Chi stay for multiple weeks, so in attendance that day was a plethora of Chi supporters. In attendance supporting the Gray were friends and family of the Gray, plus the entire staff, all sporting the Portugal-Camp-Gray-Soccer-Tropical-Pools jersey t-shirts. It was a raucous affair, and the environment was akin to the environments that’ll be found in Brazil this summer for the World Cup.
For both teams, goals weren’t as difficult to come by compared to the inaugural event. Shortly after the kick-off, the Gray scored two quick goals to take an early 2-nil lead. Before long though, Chi equalized with two goals of there own, and just like that, we had ourselves a ballgame.
It was a back and forth game for much of the afternoon, and throughout, I couldn’t have been more proud of the support and sportsmanship shown by your beloved Gray.
Though the Gray battled hard, with five minutes to play, we found ourselves down two goals, 7-5. Even to the most optimistic onlooker, it appeared at that point that Chi would pull off the win. Not so fast though, because there’s something quite amazing about the collective heart and desire of the Camp Gray team. In those last few minutes, just before the final whistle blew, the Gray scored two quick goals to equalize. As that tying goal rolled across the goal line, folks, it was bedlam – Camp Gray supporters were euphoric!
90 minutes of soccer wasn’t enough. The score was knotted at 7, and please, there’s just no way this game could end in a tie. Rather than playing an overtime period, the teams went straight to penalty kicks.
For those unaware, during a penalty kick shootout in soccer, each team chooses 5 players to attempt a shot from 12 yards away from the goal. The only thing between you and scoring that goal is the opposing team’s goalkeeper. All eyes are on those two players – the shooter and the goalie – as teams attempt to score more goals than the other. Penalty shootouts are intense and exciting happenings. Enhancing the excitement was that after five shooters, the score was knotted once again, with 3 goals apiece. At that point, it’s a sudden death shootout, and it took five more shooters before there was a missed shot. Unfortunately, a win just wasn’t meant to be that day for the Gray, as the Chi scored after the Gray missed on the tenth shot. Game over.
As the Gray left the field that day, there were no heads hung. It was inspiring to be a part of a group that just would not give up – a group with camaraderie that’s second to none. To see more photos from the 2nd annual game, please click here.
Two years and two games later, we’ve got ourselves a series tied 1 – 1. Camp Chi, are you up for the rubber match in 2014? Neutral field? Talk to you soon!
Thanks for your support of Camp Gray and your support of the Camp Gray soccer team!