Some soccer teams never get the opportunity to play on a field other than their own. But on Saturday, the Holland girls junior varsity and varsity soccer teams faced the Springville girls junior varsity and varsity soccer teams. (I play on the Holland junior varsity team.) We got the chance to play at Marine Midland Arena.
Other area teams also participated in different games that day. Later that evening, we watched the Buffalo Blizzard play against the Montreal Impact.
When we arrived Saturday afternoon, we walked through the halls that I imagine many famous people have traveled through. When it was the junior varsity team's turn to play, we entered the field the same way the Blizzard did later that night. We even got to sit on the benches that the Blizzard players and the Buffalo Sabres sit on. The junior varsity and varsity games each lasted a half hour.
The game did not count as a regular season game. It was just for fun and to play one of our favorite sports. But playing indoors posed some challenges. Playing on turf limits your footwear to sneakers. You can't wear soccer spikes. Also, a lot of balls went over the glass surrounding the playing area and into the seats, which were mostly empty. The balls were retrieved, but it was still an inconvenience because of the limited number of balls we brought with us.
For teams used to playing on grass with plenty of fresh air, this was definitely an adjustment. During the season on an outdoor field, a player who falls on her knees would get up with a few grass stains and a little dirt on her uniform. However, on turf some players had pretty ugly-looking scrapes on their knees after falling. The indoor air also made some people feel sick as they were not used to playing without fresh air.
The final outcome for the junior varsity team was Holland, 2, Springville, 1. Holland also won the varsity game, 3-1.
There were some pretty amazing plays, and once you kicked the ball into the wall, there was no telling where it would go next.
After the games, some players stayed to cheer on the Blizzard. They lost 15-6 despite starting out with a 2-0 lead.
I imagine we would all love to play at the arena again. There's nothing like the feeling when you're on the field and you look up to see all the seats around you (not necessarily filled) with some loyal friends and family watching you play the game you love.
Andrea Kibler is a freshman at Holland Central School.