It was quite a ride for the Arlington High School
boy’s soccer team this fall. With just a pair of games remaining in the regular
season their record stood at 6-8-2. They needed two wins to finish at .500 and
qualify for the state tournament. They came through in the clutch to qualify
and were seeded 20th out of 21 teams. Not many people gave the Spy Ponders a
chance, but those naysayers weren’t familiar with the fabric of this team and
their two sophomore goalies who happen to be best friends – Sam Flavin and
Kalan Nee. As Arlington
was qualifying for the tourney Sam received devastating news. His girlfriend,
Gracie James, died in an automobile accident while on a school outing in Utah. The only thing
that held Sam together was being with his teammates at practice and at games,
but concentrating was a challenge.
first playoff game was at Lynn Classical. The starting time was changed to 2:00 p.m.
to allow Sam to attend Gracie’s memorial service which was scheduled for 5:00 p.m. in
game was tied at the end of regulation. Tied at the end of the first overtime.
Tied at the end of the second overtime. It came down to penalty kicks but if
Sam remained in goal he wouldn’t make it to Gracie’s service.
"My dad came down
to the field and told me it was time to go. I knew I had to leave. I gave my
goalie gloves to Kalan and told him to win it for Gracie," explained Sam.
coach Lance Yodzio witnessed the conversation and "knew it was the right thing
and Lynn Classical were in a shootout. Arlington finally scored, but Lynn
Classical had one kick left. If they score, they play on. Kalan, wearing Sam’s
gloves, stopped the Classical kick and there was bedlam on the field.
his gloves, I was thinking about Sam the entire time, it felt really good to
step in for him," beamed Kalan.
As for Sam, he was bombarded with texts as he
exited the church.
"I knew Kalan would come through. It was a bittersweet day
A tough decision for anybody to make, let alone a high school
sophomore playing in the game of his life. But on this day, Sam Flavin had the