Oh, wow! I can hardly breathe. Thank you. Thank you so much. I really can’t believe I’m standing here right now. I didn’t think much when I joined this soccer league; it just seemed like something everyone was doing. What a whirlwind it’s been! After a season of participating in these soccer games — and, man, oh man, when you look at all the time I’ve spent out on the field, taking into account that I was absent most of the time because I double-booked my gymnastics, it’s gotta be at least four to five games I’ve participated in — I didn’t expect to be a part of something bigger than myself. I didn’t expect to be on a great team or learn any new skills or make any long lasting friendships on this C-league rag-tag team of third graders. Boy, was I correct in that premature assessment!

I am so honored to be recognized as an existing entity on a list of names. From drinking Capri-Sun and complaining that my shin guards itch to sitting on the grass during an active game and complaining that my shin guards itch, I have learned so little this year. I was always told I was special, but did I think I would win an award for just playing soccer every Saturday afternoon on a team that doesn’t keep score? Yes, I don’t like soccer and empty validation is the only reason I joined the team. But I am truly honored and blessed. So many of my teammates also deserve to be up here today due to the broad definition of what is being awarded, and I can assure you that they will be called up in alphabetical order to do just that. This, however, is my time to shine, and I am going to milk it for as long as you are all obligated to listen to me. There are going to be a lot of people out there who are going to tell you that you can’t accomplish your dreams. Luckily, I have never really encountered that and look where it’s gotten me!

I just want to thank a few people for my success: my mom for proving girls rule, and, of course, my dad for proving that not all boys drool. For all the people who told me to talk to their hand because their face was not listening to what I was saying, I want to thank you for your lack of attention, it truly pushed me to go out and seek the unearned recognition of excellence that a team like this could offer. And a big shout out to coach for telling me how good my “hustle” was time and time again, despite never actually touching the ball. In fact, thanks to the whole baby boomer generation, whose overcompensation for their own childhoods excused the purchase of 200 trophies for the sake of this participation award ceremony. I wouldn’t have this award without you and that is a fact. I mean that. And, listen, if “all” is a shelf of trophies with my name on it for signing up for something, I’m living proof that you can have it all. Thank you and I hope you’ll continue to blindly support me as I sign up for lacrosse this spring.