As round five approached, I was chosen to take the last penalty kick. It was down to the other team 's top shooter and me. He shot as I held my breath. Our goalie fully extended his hands and was able to just barely make the save. “Yes”, I whispered as I let out a sigh of relief.
Even though we lost, that final moment that I jogged off the field, every one of my teammates smiled, and gave me a high five. As I gathered my things, I went over to my family. “You did an amazing job for your first time!” They all say in unison. Making it seem like it was rehearsed.
My teammates tackled me celebrating, leaving the ball in the back of the net and the goalie with her head between her hands. The scoreboard ticked the last few seconds away before letting out a sound of excitement that was prior a sound of disappointment. Losing in the sectional finals was devastating, but it motivated me in the off season. Coaches always say “we can learn from this loss” and I never took it seriously. Our failure set us up for more success than imagined.
Possession was the one thing on everyone’s mind. Time was evaporating, the other team and their fans started to get optimistic. The buzzer announced the end of the competition and the roar from our opponents deafened cries from our team and our fans. We had lost the first game for our program in fourteen years.
The day was peaceful, but my mind was racing and racing on the upcoming track meet at Sectionals. I was so excited and exhilarated to compete in sectionals, I couldn 't wait to tell my family. I always have liked the competitive drive every time before I would run a race. I always enjoyed the feeling of the wind against my face, and the power it took to sprint to the finish line. My knees started shaking, and the sharp pain in my stomach began to get worse.
This was my chance to have something that would really raise my confidence. Since the beginning of the season I had wanted to play in this tournament, but I knew to get there it would take a lot of grit and perseverance. My coach could only take 6 boys to this tournament so he was gonna take the best possible to good as a team.
However, I began to see the game as more than just a win or a loss. Losing gave the team the opportunity to closely look at what we did well, and what we needed to improve on. We were then able to focus more precisely on what we needed to do in order to succeed. I was able to learn that being successful and winning were not necessarily the same thing. We had success in a smaller sense; we worked as a team, played clean games and were noted for our sportsmanship.
Bur what do I know? On that day, from absolute confidence to absurd despair, I stared at every other team mates, looking at how they justifiably obtained their symbols of "recognitions from the coach, and left me there hanging, empty-handed, till there 's no one else left but me and the coach
The second I was on the field I knew my team had the game won. All I could see around me was a group of men ready for war. I couldn’t be more ready for my last home opener so after I did what I do when the unexplainable happens, accept it. I ran to the 45 to the 35 to the 20, hoping to find the kick returner. 8 months waiting for this moment all the sweat, pain, 100 degree sun beaming UV rays to my face.
The cheers from the crowd and teams, and the adrenaline pumping through our veins. The chalk lines are drawn, the field has been dragged, its time to play now. Nobody knew about the pressure we felt for that game. Not because we weren 't confident, because we were. It was because we knew that the people around us, including the coaches, didn’t believe we could do it.
Despite the newspapers and previews saying we would not contend for the state title that year, I kept in my head that anything could happen. Going into the year I told our team “lets focus on what we can do to improve, and not worry about anyone else”. At the beginning, other teams were too strong for our inexperienced runners to compete with, but we didn’t change the focus. Practice after practice, I made sure we were doing everything we could to be at our best for the end of the year. I didn’t care what other teams were doing because we had no control over that.
They were smiling at me, hoping that I would stay in for the rest of the game. That’s when power ran through me, smiles started to appear on my face. And that’s when I knew I was going to play the rest of the game ,and I was going to play the rest of the tournament. Even if my arm ached. When I looked at my coach she gave me a thumbs up ,and I gave her a happy thumbs up back.
But, sure enough, the Tempo Blaze won 12-0. We are going to have to play Tempo Blaze. As soon as we got to the fields and starting to warm up we were all scared. They are all bigger, stronger, taller, and faster. They are in 7th grade, but 2 of them play Varsity for Tea High School.