Success looked a little different than the teams expected in their respective soccer and softball seasons.
Briercrest’s soccer and women’s softball teams wrapped up their short, intense seasons a few weeks ago. While the women’s soccer team finished off the season with a 3-3-2 record, the women’s softball team and men’s soccer team had a tougher go and experienced a different type of success this season.
“We finished second place in every game we played this year,” men’s soccer coach, Cody Vigeant, said with a laugh.
Although winless season isn’t what either team hoped for, both teams experienced success in many other ways.
“If we’re looking at it from a win-loss standpoint, we obviously would like to have done better than we did,” Vigeant said. “But if we’re looking at it from a growth standpoint, we were stronger as the season went on.”
The guys on the team experienced growth, not only as a team, but also as individuals.
“It is cool to see a couple of guys that have never played organized soccer to begin with and just about in the span of a month and a half, these were guys you could throw out there and depend on in certain situations,” Vigeant explained.
Vigeant went on to say that the comradery among the team was a highlight for many of the players and the guys will not only leave having gained soccer skills, but skills learned by being part of a team are beneficial and transfer over into other areas of life.
Briercrest women’s softball team also experienced tremendous success this season in spite of a number of challenges.
“I think for us you can’t talk about success without talking about some of the challenges,” said Carlie Pagens, women’s softball coach. “We had some pretty significant injuries this year—just bad timing with when girls got sick, who got injured, what positions they played, and those types of things.”
“It would’ve been really easy for the girls to get really discouraged, become frustrated with one another, and not really want to compete hard or care about finishing out the season anymore,” Pagens continued. “But the girls wouldn’t stop fighting until the very last minute and it’s pretty rare to see that type of willingness to compete until the end. So a huge success was their willingness and their desire to fight to the end, to work hard, and to work as a team.”
However, the biggest success for the team was seeing the impact they were able to have within the league this year.
“I wonder now looking back if some of the hard things that happened to our team this year—in terms of injuries and just not having the success we had hoped and planned for—almost created some space for the way God worked through our team with other teams,” Pagens explained. “And so the big example with that one would be the University of Regina and kind of this relationship that we built with them this year.”
Pagens went on to explain that Briercrest consistently gathers in the infield and prays for their opponent at the end of every game.
“They actually asked if they could pray for us at the end of the year, knowing we had some injuries, and that our team was struggling with the flu,” Pagens said. “They gave us a card that they had all signed saying ‘I hope you guys are feeling better,’ and ‘I hope you do well.’ And they were cheering for us at provincials; they gave all the girls this blow-pop sucker thing and told them, ‘I hope you blow them out of the water.’”
“So we’ve had an impact on the league that we actually saw fruit of,” Pagens continued. “We actually talked to some girls from the U of R and they said like they felt like we brought faith to sport in a way that made it ok to talk about. As a result of that, they’ve actually been able to start up a team time in a Bible study format with their teammates as the Christians on the U of R team. So it’s pretty cool to hear that God is working and we got to be a part of his plan in our league.”
Being able to see the work that God is doing through Briercrest’s softball team was the highlight of the season for Coach Pagens and she is excited to see the ways He will continue to work.
“That [game with the U of R] was probably the highlight of my whole coaching career because I saw that it meant something more and I think for a lot of the girls, that was the night they really got it that we’re part of something bigger.”