I’m a firm believer in destiny. Every one us has a purpose on this planet. We achieve it and then we move on.
That’s how destiny works. Achieving destinies leave legacies behind afterwards.
Though there are always far more important things in the world we are meant for, despite what I say in my weekly columns.
There is a heavy contestability from sports to the real world.
Destiny is one of those things that I think bleeds over into and blends in both the real world and the sports world.
Just take this season’s Oconee County High School boys soccer team.
Saturday night, they won the program’s first state championship after two prior appearances.
Their run was unorthodox and unexpected in nature from those on the outside looking in, like myself, somewhat. They won the state championship as a two seed. They didn’t win their region and they lost four games in the regular season.
The Warriors looked like they always looked. They were good and they were in every game this season.
I admit I remember the 2014 team that went to the state championship game and lost to Westminster. I didn’t think it appropriate to compare the two teams.
I have no rooting interest in any of the teams I cover here. But there were signs that something was different about the 2019 Warriors.
I saw the Warriors for the first time in person on March 15 when they routed Madison County 9-1.
The Red Raiders were a few weeks removed from knocking off North Oconee High School, the defending Region 8-4A champions and a team I felt was very similar in skill to the Warriors when the season began.
The Warriors’ firepower was exceptional and their defense stifling. They went on to beat my alma mater Clarke Central High School the same week. I learned later they did so without their senior goalkeeper Hunter Andrews.
I didn’t see the Warriors again until they defeated the Titans in their annual rivalry match.
That night I began to sense something different. I couldn’t put a finger on what it was but it was a feeling around the team that made me want to follow a little more closely.
I knew the match with St. Pius X Catholic would tell us all a lot about the Warriors. If the Warriors were to beat SPX, they’d take the region title.
The Warriors earned a home playoff match and went to half tied with No. 3 seed Sandy Creek.
As if they flipped a switch, they rolled through the second half to advance to the next round.
The Warriors were scheduled to be on the road for the rest of the playoffs. Going on the road in any sport takes all bets off. Anything can happen.
The Warriors escaped with a close win over Chestatee High School.
They drew Woodward Academy in the Elite Eight. This is when my feelings were confirmed that something was happening with the 2019 Warriors that were more than a talented team on their way to elimination.
I asked the Warriors’ goalkeeper if there was something that was pushing their run after they defeated Woodward after Andrews saved a goal on a double save that found him flailing at the ball as it went over his head and knocking it away all but saving the game.
“There’s something bigger going on here,” Andrews said. “We were going to win this game. After that, it was clear to me that we were going to win that game.”
The Warriors trailed in the next round against Northwest Whitfield, at this point I fully expected the Warriors to pull another thrilling win out of their hats.
It happened. They won with the goalkeeper scoring in the final shot of the penalty kick session.
My father had a saying for me when I would be sad my favorite team got eliminated from the playoffs.
“Its just their time,” he’d say.
I went to Macon with the expectation that the Warriors would claim their title. It was their time.
They did. Destiny has a funny way of reminding you of its existence.
But when I look back at the way 2019 unfolded for the Warriors I can’t deny it.
This was a team of destiny.
“It was just their time,”
Jeremy Johnson is the sports editor for The Oconee Enterprise. Opinions expressed are those of the writer.