A Mother's Love Takes All

A Mother's Love Takes All

May 15 2023

The stakes were high, but the spirit of good sportsmanship born from a tight mother-daughter bond was far stronger.

At a recent soccer game played between Katy Junior High and McDonald Junior High, two unlikely opponents were on the same field together: a dynamic mother-daughter duo playing on opposite teams. What could have been an awkward, tension-laden sporting event was anything but, thanks to a mutual love for the game and each other.

Bayleigh Fisher, a student at Katy Junior High, discovered her love of soccer eight years ago after her mother, Rhaylyn Fisher, signed her up to play with the Katy Youth Soccer Club. Fate was at work when Rhaylyn was asked to coach Bayleigh’s team, igniting a nearly decade-long passion for coaching youth soccer. Rhaylyn’s coaching career led her to Royal ISD and eventually Katy ISD as the girls soccer coach for McDonald Junior High, while Bayleigh’s training led her to being a part of the girls soccer team at Katy Junior High.

Bayleigh Fisher in action with soccer ball on the soccer field. (Source: Rhaylyn Fisher)

For Rhaylyn, coaching has been a deeply rewarding experience. Supporting her players in their growth and development on and off the field has been the most satisfying, especially while “watching the girls come in that haven’t had a lot of experience but seeing where they begin and how they progress and develop,” said Rhaylyn.

Once Bayleigh made the soccer team at Katy Junior High, it became apparent that Rhaylyn and Bayleigh might play against one another during Bayleigh’s junior high years. Then last year, the game schedule was released and lo and behold: a rival game was on the horizon for the spring of 2023.

After rooting her on for years from the sidelines and never missing a single game, Rhaylyn did not know what to expect as her daughter’s opponent on the field but leading up to game day, they embraced the challenge with positive, playful attitudes.

“It became a source of humor in the house. Bets were made and we talked about it – it was a funny situation. The whole family came to the game with various shades of red and purple to cheer us on,” said Rhaylyn.

That team spirit emulated throughout the stands on both sides during this game of a lifetime, especially once the spectators caught on to the mother-daughter connection on the field. Determined to play the game fairly and not give her daughter any advantages, Bayleigh was equally passionate about giving it her all, leveraging inside intel on her mom’s coaching style to strategically take home a win. Even with a roller coaster of emotions hovering over the field that fateful night, Bayleigh and her team emerged victorious with a final score of 3 to 1.

Both mother and daughter learned a great deal about themselves as athletes throughout the process, and about each other.

“You learn a little about yourself as a coach after every game. There will always be situations in a game that you’re not ready for and you have to be able to make adjustments on the fly. As a mom, I’m usually on the sidelines supporting, but this provided a beautiful opportunity to see her grit firsthand when we were competing against each other” said Rhaylyn.

Despite the extra attention, Bayleigh’s steadfast focus on the game and supporting her teammates made Rhaylyn beam with pride, leaving a beloved mark as their favorite game of all time.

“It could have gone a different way but she embraced every bit of it. There were celebrations on both sides. It was a beautiful moment,” said Rhaylyn.

Taking her mother’s lead, Bayleigh has had the opportunity to combine strengths and skills on and off the field. In addition to soccer, she plays violin in varsity orchestra at her school. After high school, she has her sights set on playing soccer on the National USA Soccer Team and study medicine at Baylor University with the goal of becoming a heart surgeon one day.

Gaining a unique perspective from both sides of the final score, Rhaylyn walked away from this experience with an impactful reminder that she plans to pass on to her students as a coach and eventually as a school principal. Rhaylyn is currently finishing her principal certification and plans to graduate this December, then apply for junior high principal positions in the spring of 2024.

Rhaylyn Fisher with McDonald Junior High girls soccer team players. (Source: Rhaylyn Fisher)
“The lessons we learn as athletes from our coaches is that hard work, determination and perseverance are the keys to learning. Win or lose, there’s something to learn and we can grow from both,” said Rhaylyn.

By Tiffany Krenek, My Neighborhood News 
Tiffany Krenek has been on the My Neighborhood News team since August 2021. She is passionate about curating and sharing content that enriches the lives of our readers in a personal, meaningful way. A loving mother and wife, Tiffany and her family live in the West Houston/Cypress region.

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