We locate the JV girls' football field, and mill about with parents, waiting. Shouts erupt from the gym and we hurry over to catch the opening five minutes of the boys' varsity basketball, but then Julia's game starts and we hurry loyally back. We play Peponi, definitely the best team we played in the regular season, and the winner of their group as we won ours. The RVA girls come out strong, a more confident and active team than the tired girls we saw at the end of the last match. Their coach has done a great job, the growth in the team is clear, and they are ready for the final push. Twice we apparently score, but it is called off, a questionable off-sides and a hard-to-see other call. Undaunted they play on. Julia takes every corner, goal kick, and free kick, always running back to her defensive position as sweeper. She lobs corner after corner into great positions, and the team does a much better job of being in the goal box and playing it in. Late in the first half there is a penalty not too far outside the 18 yard box. We know Julia can score from there. And sure enough, she does, a strong solid on-target kick, the keeper gets her hands on it but can't stop it. We're ahead 1 to 0. The second half is a well-fought battle. Julia twice saved goals by kicking the ball out of the goal at the last minute after her keeper had been beat. All the girls are playing hard, sprinting, reaching, pushing themselves. When the final whistle blows, they are elated. They have won the season.
RVA won three of the four events they entered, as well as sportsmanship awards in all the teams that came, plus the overall school sportsmanship award (voted on by all the players and coaches). We only lost the boys' varsity basketball, and that was by one basket, down to the wire, an impossibly close and exciting game.