Thanks to Coach Bob Rickards and Kathy Kanikula of Notre Dame Academy for their assistance in scheduling my interview with senior soccer players Tony Klingert, Andrew Ribeiro and Thomas Metzler. Thank you to Norbertine Fr. Dane Radecki, NDA president, for allowing us to gather in his office and access to his candy supply.
While I sought the players’ perspective on Chase Hilgenbrinck’s vocation, prayer, their future and the future of Notre Dame soccer, we also discussed other topics.
For example, Klingert offered his views on the jubilation in soccer, while other sports temper celebrations.
"You’ve got to love the emotion of the whole game," he said. "After we scored our first goal at state (championship game), I just started freaking out. I was just going nuts."
His excitement was understandable considering he missed the 2007 state tournament due to injury.
Ribeiro admitted that the team felt pressure to win a second consecutive championship following state title victories by both the Notre Dame girls golf and tennis teams. The soccer title completed the best fall athletic season in school history and possibly for any school in Wisconsin.
I asked the players if they often admire the state championship trophy. It took a moment for the trio to figure out where it is displayed in the school, so the answer is obviously "no."
FSN has broadcast the championship game, but none of the three have watched it.
"I only saw the very end," said Metzler. "My dad had knee surgery, so he was sitting at home and saw that it was on. My mom came home from work. My grandparents showed up. They had their own little party in our family room."
The players don’t need to watch the game, they lived it. They don’t need to admire the trophy; they have held it in their hands.
Like Ribeiro said, "It’s the experience."