A Kick Out of Life!
by Michelle Rambo
All you could hear
on the hot soccer field, besides the thumping of dancing feet
making contact, seemed to be voices shouting "Matt!
Over here Matt!"
first I thought it was selective hearing on my part. After all,
it was my assignment to seek out this Matt Lawler character,
an agile and versatile athlete whose roles as Junior Captain
of the soccer team, kicker for the football team, and straight-A
student, crown him with the title of all-around-great-example.
It didnt take
long to see why everyone incessantly called his name while chasing
the spinning globe. He has speed, strength, and a real involvement
in the dynamics, energy, and execution of nearly every play.
"Hes the leader of the team . . . as far as intensity
goes," said Cam Capurso, head coach of the Sedona Red Rock
High School soccer team. "He really directs the play on
the field and leads by example through his effort."
Matt takes his role
as captain, and position (as center-midfield) seriously, yet
retains a sense of lightness, ease, calm about him. "Bringing
leadership to the team means hard work all the time, every day,"
said Lawler. "People respect and look up to me for that.
But the game has to be fun . . . thats why we are all
His aim, as an example
to teammates, is to demonstrate pushing the limits and playing
from the heart. "When I play hard, I see that others push
themselves as well," he said. Its a chain reaction,
it can spark a whole team - with gratifying results. The team
is strong this year, possibly the best that Matt has ever seen,
he said. Currently undefeated in conference play, the team has
the ability to win them all, said Matt, "because there
is so much dedication."
A native Sedonan,
Matt started kicking around a ball at the age of five. He claims
he wasnt born with a natural gift or propensity towards
sports (he makes the same claim about academics), but rather
has achieved his hard-won excellence through years of discipline
Born first was his
passion for soccer. But word of Lawlers skill and kicking
strength spread to the football field, and first-year Scorpions
head coach Jim Cromartie was eager to work with him. "It
took me about five seconds to teach him everything he knows,"
Cromartie jokes. "His kicking ability is extraordinary."
Beyond that, Matt isnt afraid of the mad rush. "He
has extreme confidence and the ability to back it up,"
When asked how he
juggles it all, how he finds balance, Lawler smiles humbly,
shrugs, says he "just does." He appears at ease with
life, totally present, in love with NOW, with all that he is
He tells me his parents
have been the greatest support, and then is suddenly taken back
to a time last year when he played a soccer match against Grand
Canyon and then drove for hours immediately afterward to kick
in a football game. There is electricity, an excitement when
he speaks about football.
draws the fans. That would have to be the best part - playing
in front of crowds," he said. And even here, he reminds
me that its ultimately about having fun, retelling times
he told jokes on the sidelines to ease tensions.
Coach Cromartie too
remarks on Matts enthusiasm for the game. "Matt brings
a real freshness because hes never played football before,
so there is a thrill as he discovers the little things in the
with life, that "freshness" he lives on the field,
spills magnetically over into all rooms of his life. He is an
excellent student, again as a result of diligent effort and
setting priorities. Advanced-Placement Biology is currently
his favorite subject of study.
And even though he
jokes about his minimal social life (during the week anyway),
his candidacy for the Homecoming Court tells me a lot of people
acknowledge and admire his endeavors and his positive attitude.
It all appears effortless
Sure it is work:
long hours, focus, practice. But always quick to a warm, beautiful
smile, Matt appears to be enjoying it all immensely - his classes,
his friends, his family - and playing two sports simultaneously.