When you discount me asking you to buy my book, I never do this. But there’s a first time for everything.

As you probably know, my wife and I have two daughters. One of them is a soccer player. She’s pretty good. I’ve written about her before on this blog. Here’s the first goal she ever scored when she was about 5.

She’s 15 now and has become a strong player with age. A few weeks ago she tried out for her high school team, Myers Park. Myers Park has routinely been one of the best Women’s high school soccer programs in the state of NC. Girls who play there go on to get scholarships at Division 1 schools. A girl who graduated last year is now playing for the UNC Tarheels. A current senior on this year’s team has a full ride to Princeton next year. The competition to make the Myers Park Women’s soccer team is fierce.

Unfortunately, because of where we live, nobody knew of Agatha. Most of the kids who feed into Myers Park live in that part of town (which is very affluent), and middle schoolers from there feed directly into MP high school. Most of the girls who played on that middle school team last year were trying out for the high school team. Some of them played with Aggie on her club team last fall. Aggie even took the position of one of their forwards.

Anyway, as I sat watching the tryouts, I noticed that the coaching staff seemed to segregate the upper classmen from the ones trying out for JV. And with the ones trying out for JV, they tended to keep the (feeder) middle school team together. Agatha was left on the side with a group of girls that kept getting cut. They didn’t have the talent to get her the ball. They didn’t touch the ball well. They collapsed under pressure. She worked hard, but it was like her against the world. As I watched this unfold, I prepared for the worst. She was being discriminated against because of where we live. It didn’t matter that she lead her middle school district in scoring in 2015. It didn’t matter that she was a better player than most of the kids from the (feeder) middle school team. She was a nobody from the other side of the tracks. Hell, earlier in the year when she started at Myers Park, someone started a rumor that she was from “the ghetto.” We live in a vibrant,  diverse part of town. It’s not a ghetto. But I guess when you’re surrounded by wealthy people just like you, anything different must seem like the slums.

Anyway, after the first day of tryouts I said to her, “You have to try harder than the other kids. You have to be Rocky.” She responded.

The teams were announced last Friday, and she made the JV squad. And after a week of practice, she’s already becoming a leader.  I’m proud of her resolve.

So now this is the part where I ask you to buy something. As the spring season ramps up, the team has a fundraiser. The more stuff you can sell, the more stuff you can get. Each player has a personal goal. Agatha’s is fairly modest, but she does have her heart set on a Myers Park soccer bag and hoodie. And to get there she has to sell as much stuff as possible (I’m not sure of the exact number.) By next week. She’ll be going old school (door-to-door) this weekend, but I don’t have an office to shill at, so I’m doing my shilling here. Please click this link and buy something (they have everything from cookies to scarves). Oh, and try to view it non-mobile because the mobile site is embarrassingly bad. You shouldn’t need her student code, but if you do just ping me and I’ll send it. OR, if you prefer to make a direct donation, you can PayPal me jim@smashcommunications.com. Agatha has said that with the money donated via PayPal, she’ll buy stuff from the site for her church.

Thanks so much for helping out. And forgive me for using my blog to ask for money. I’m just trying to help my kid “from the ghetto” reach her goals.

(A free kick from near the halfway line during a game last November.)

Thanks again! Remember, the link is here (use desktop, not mobile.)

Jim Mitchem

The Day I Fell From Grace
Fireflies in Autumn

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.