Year later, loss to Southern still vivid for Knowles Arundel midfielder has rematch with mom

September 27, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

The game against her mother's team last year made such an impression on Lesley Knowles that she felt compelled to write an essay about it for English class this month.

It is entitled, "The Big Game." The time is burned in her mind to the very minute: At 5:23 p.m. on Oct. 6, 1992, coach Carolyn Knowles' Southern High team completed its 1-0 field hockey victory over Lesley and her Arundel teammates.

Lesley wrote about her tears and about saying the wrong thing to a newspaper reporter, noting that it was hard to play because, for once, her mother wasn't able to cheer for her.

"My heart felt like it was going to break in half," wrote Lesley, who led Arundel in goals and assists last year. "How was I going to face anyone again?"

In the year since, Lesley has faced a lot of people. And tomorrow, at 4 p.m. at Southern, the senior midfielder will face her mother's team in the final high school field hockey encounter matching Carolyn Knowles against her daughter.

"It bothers me," Carolyn said. "I don't like to see Lesley and her team lose. But I told Clint [Gosnell, Arundel's coach] I hope he wins all but this game."

Last year's Arundel-Southern game was as difficult on mother as on daughter. As a coach, Carolyn watches the ball. As a mother, when she's not coaching, she watches Lesley.

"At one point a player ran in front of me and yelled to the officials, 'green sub,' " Carolyn said. "The voice was familiar, but we weren't green; we were white.

"I wondered why the voice was familiar. Then I realized I hadn't noticed that Lesley came out of the game for a drink of water and was going back when I heard 'green sub.' It was distracting."

The past few days in the Knowles household have not been easy for father-husband Ken.

"It's like walking on egg shells," he said. "If Lesley says to Carolyn, 'I'm going to beat you,' it's no longer a little joke. The ideal situation would be for Lesley to score three goals but for Southern to win, 4-3."

He thought about that for a moment and changed his mind: "No, Lesley wouldn't like losing again."

The rivalry started two years ago when Lesley was a sophomore, and the teams played to a scoreless tie in double overtime.

"I got hit in the mouth by the ball at one point and got a fat lip," Lesley said. "My mother rushed out, but the ref put up his hand to bar her way because I wasn't one of her players."

The following summer, Lesley had progressed to the point where she was able to help her mother conduct field hockey clinics in Severna Park. Ultimately, that made last year's loss to Southern even more bitter, for Lesley had taught five Southern starters in the clinics.

"They had never picked up a field hockey stick before," she wrote ruefully.

As she headed for the Arundel team bus after last year's defeat, two of the Southern girls she had taught approached her.

"Good game, Lesley," one said. "Sorry you had to lose. Looks like you taught us too well, huh?"

The tears had stopped by the time Lesley arrived home and was greeted by her mother. Carolyn sensed what a wrenching experience it had been.

"She was trying to tell me that even though my team lost, I won at succeeding in giving those girls all the knowledge of the game I could give to them," Lesley wrote.

"For the first time, in all my years as an athlete, my mother wasn't there to cheer for me. Secondly, I lost the game, but in the hearts of those five girls and my mother, I truly came home a winner."

For the final line in the essay, Lesley wrote, "Now I can truly say that it's not whether you win or lose, but how you teach the game!"

She will not allow such a thought to enter her head tomorrow. Lesley is making no predictions, but she will find little consolation in seeing former pupils do well if Arundel loses again.

"I taught them all I know, but that doesn't bother me," she said. "It actually gives me more confidence, knowing they're less experienced than I am."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.