I’ve always thought I knew why Cheyenne Central’s Halee Moore puckered up and planted a quick smooch on a soccer ball prior to taking her shot during a shootout with Cheyenne East in the 2013 Class 4A girls soccer state championship match.
But it wasn’t until Thursday that my suspicions were confirmed.
Jeff Norman was an assistant coach for that Lady Indians squad which was trying to win back-to-back state titles by getting past its crosstown rival. He’s the disembodied arm holding the ball Moore is kissing in the photo above.
Norman is now Central’s head coach and that shootout came up during our conversation about senior Larissa Cussins signing with Midway (Ky.) University. So I used that opportunity to ask Norman about the moment I caught on video nearly three years before.
“That was the ball the team the year before had used all season and signed after we won state,” Norman said. “We took the ball to Rock Springs with us and I just decided to bring it to the field with us for the finals. We didn’t expect to be in a shootout because we led that match until East tied it late.
“I thought the team needed something to rally around and remind themselves they were the defending champions. I wanted everyone to step forward and kiss that ball and remember that it was our title.”
As Paul Harvey used to say, “Now you know … the rest of the story.”
(Here’s full shootout video if you’re interested. Sorry for the sub par camera work. I normally shake like a leaf but the high winds in Rock Springs that day didn’t do me any favors either.)