Aztecs A La Vista: Saying Goodbye to Rachel Boaz
Feb. 22, 2013
This is the third installment of Laura Antonana Iriarte's "Aztecs A La Vista." Antoñana is a sophomore on the women's tennis team from San Sebastián, Spain. In her third article, she is profiling women's soccer player Rachel Boaz.
"Saying Goodbye to Rachel Boaz"
Oct. 25, 2010. It's 9:10 p.m. and the sky is dark. She gets on her bike, after a team study session in the Fowler Athletics Center, and starts to ride home through the empty streets of San Diego State. As she crosses El Cajon Blvd., she hears the engine sound of a motorcycle. For some reason, that sound grabs her attention more than usual. "It's going fast," she thinks. But she keeps riding; there is no time to react. She is not wearing a helmet and her bike does not have any lights on it. All of the sudden, everything goes dark.
"Life is a fragile thing; it can come and go any second," Rachel Boaz says two years later.
Rachel Boaz is the starting goalkeeper of the best Aztec women's soccer team in the history of the school. She has not only contributed significantly to the team success, but also has had a fantastic season personally. With 62 saves and playing almost every game from beginning to end, this San Diego native helped her team achieve success.
However, two years ago Rachel's life was hanging by a thread. When that motorcycle hit her, she instantly flew off her bike seat, landed on her head, and remained immobile on the ground. The speed at which the motorcycle was traveling was difficult to determine. The driver's attorney assessed it was 45 mph. On the other hand, the police report evaluated the speed much higher at 57 mph. Regardless of the speed, Rachel Boaz survived. A broken knee and jaw were the only physical damages from this tragic accident that could have taken her life.
The time she spent at the hospital seemed to last longer than just 24 hours. She could barely move, and no one knew what her future was going to look like after this misfortune.
"It was very frustrating and chaotic" Boaz says.
Boaz, who joined the Aztec family with a large amount of ambition and excitement, began seeing all of her plans and goals for her freshman year shattered by the crash. She fell behind in school and often found herself crying in class because she was not able to retain the smallest pieces of information. Moreover, soccer was no longer her priority, taking its place was recovery.
However, the 18 year-old San Diegan was determined to overcome her difficulties. Tough times never last, but tough people do, and to justify her reputation as a tough and determined person, Boaz kept fighting and never gave up on her dream of representing San Diego State on the field.
After two months of shedding tears, feeling frustrated, and trying to stay strong, this red-shirt sophomore hit the gym on a regular basis. Just a month later, in January 2011, Boaz stepped on the grass to join her team for practice. Now, two years after the crash and cheating death, Rachel Boaz is one of the most valued goalkeepers in the nation.
When you ask the 20-year-old about the team's secret to success, she does not forget about anyone. The list includes an encouraging head coach, Mike Friesen, who works for the girls' dream and not for his own glory. She also acknowledges Juan Pablo Favero, the passionate and humorous assistant coach who has improved the team's mental game. And of course, there is the amazing relationship between her teammates and the talent of many of the players on the team.
However, more than one person would agree that Rachel's strength and her perception of life as "a fragile thing that can come and go any second" have played a very important role in the team's journey to the top.
"I've never taken a game for granted, every time I stepped on the field it meant a lot to me" says the Aztec goalkeeper, who enjoys the pressure of being the last player between the ball and the goal.
Although Boaz has a soft spot in her heart for soccer, she has set other goals for her life too. "I want to help people" she says.
Said and done. After having made a great contribution to the women's soccer team, and being an outstanding goalkeeper that has put her body and soul on the way of every ball, Rachel has decided to put soccer and school aside to help others.
The journey of the pursuit of happiness is sometimes difficult, uncertain and full of mysterious turns we do not know where they would take us. Deciding to make any turns on that journey is challenging. Making the right ones is difficult. Rachel has decided to make a life change, and serve the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and we can only wish her the best of luck.
For all the things she has done for SDSU, we will never forget her. For the 62 saves she made this season we will always remember she was the goalkeeper of the most amazing women's soccer team SDSU has ever had. For the time she saved her life, we will always have in mind she is a fighter.
"My soccer experience was one I will cherish and remember forever" Boaz says as she bids farewell.
Good luck on your new path Rachel Boaz, from the deepest of our hearts we wish you all the best on your journey to that beautiful and mysterious place called happiness.
GOOD BYE RACHEL!