The following is part of a speech delivered by Presque Isle boys’ soccer coach Joe Greaves during a reception for the Wildcat teams held Nov. 6, three days after his team’s 3-2 double-overtime victory over Freeport for the 2018 Class B state soccer championship in a match played at Hampden Academy. It was the Wildcats’ first state soccer title in school history.
If someone were to tell me I could write my own dream sports story, I’d want to write an underdog story. Underdog stories are always the best, so I’d start my story by talking about a team that was heading into a state final game against opponents from a conference that hadn’t lost in 25 years. To make the story great, I’d have the underdogs down two goals in the second half, and at a point where very few believed they could come back and win. I’d want it to be cold and windy, just to prove this game wasn’t for the weak at heart. Then I’d talk about a team that never quits, no matter the circumstances, and a team that had the heart of champions.
In this story, they’d have to dig deep to score their first goal, and they’d do just that. That goal would light a spark and bring a crowd to life. Then soon after they scored their first goal, they’d tie the game and send the crowd into a roar. The players and the crowd would start to turn the tides, and the cold would no longer be a problem.
I wouldn’t want this story to happen to just any team though. I’d want it to be a bunch of hard-working kids who show up every day and work their tails off. I’d want kids who take pride in the values of their community, who win and lose with class and dignity. This is my story, so no fancy haircuts or cleats, no ridiculous goal celebrations, no mouthing at refs or rolling around with suspicious injuries, no diving, and no begging for calls. Nope, I want tough guys, clean cut, wearing their school-issued warmups with pride, who keep their mouths shut, nose down, and aren’t fazed by anything, who stand up and take what’s coming at them like men.
In my story though, I’d want some drama, particularly the dramatics of the other team claiming victory, only to hear 22 boys yelling at them, telling them to get back on the field, saying, “We aren’t done with you yet.” To finish this dream game, and season, I want a sweet game-winning goal, particularly a banger from 18 yards out with 9:23 left in double overtime. I want the shot to be a laser and one that no one will forget. Then I’d want a team and it’s crowd to lose their minds, and be overtaken with emotion. This story ends the right way: the good guys win.
Think about the dream story that I would write if I could. There’s nothing I could add or make up to make it any better, and you boys did it. You lived the dream story. It’s a story other champions don’t get to live. Not everyone who wins championships gets to do it by being the underdog, or coming from behind, or scoring in double overtime. This game is one of those that’s one in a million, one that very few people get to live out. This game is one of the biggest wins in Presque Isle sports history, and one you’ll never forget.