I'm No Liar
I bring up the fact that I've been saying since early September that Lewiston soccer would go all the way this year not because I'm a told-you-so kind of person (I swear, I'm not) but because I've never really had a hunch like this before. And even though he'd never come out and say it -- coaches are superstitious folks more often than not -- I think Coach Mike McGraw agreed with me.
There was just something about this team, this season, that felt like it was going to happen.
Last night, as I was sitting in my living room in New York and he was sitting at his house in Maine, I texted Coach. We've texted thousands of words in the last few years as I was researching and writing ONE GOAL and he was teaching biology and coaching soccer.
"You don’t need me to say it: go do it tomorrow," I wrote. "I’m there in spirit. Don’t make me a liar."
The answer came immediately (I knew he'd be awake.) "You never lie," he wrote back. "Historian."
The texts started coming early and often this morning, game day. Alumni like Abdi H. -- who is playing D1 soccer this fall for UMASS Lowell -- making pilgrimages north as the team and its local fanbase headed south. A friend from college who lives in Maine messaged me: "Should I go?" Yes, I replied. Go. Bear witness.
It was a nail biter. Very defensive play on the part of both Portland and Lewiston meant the score was 0-0 at the half. As the minutes ticked in the second, the stalemate continued. Corner after corner produced nothing in the net.
Overtime. "15 minutes of golden goal," Eric Wagner (pictured with Abdi H.) texted me. He played for McGraw back in the day when state championship games were but a dream. Now he's head soccer coach at Swarthmore, driving to Lewiston from Pennsylvania late last night to be there for the game.
With less than six minutes left on the clock, Nuri's free kick found Warsame's head. It was over. 1-0 Lewiston. Maine Class A boys state soccer champions.
I'm no liar.