Once upon a time when I was a champion soccer star I was awarded a place in the Junior Soccer League Hall of Fame. And I have decided to finally share the story that got me to my dreams.
“Ok! Gather around, gather around!” our coach shouted. He was obviously in a great sense of excitement because we were somewhere that I thought we could reach. We were at the Local Under- 13 League Grand Final.
“Ok,” our coach started. “Today is the day we waited for. I know your fitness levels are high and it’s not very hard to clinch the trophy if you go by the rules. The uniforms – they are just perfect. Now all I want you to do is go out there and use the equipment like it should be used! Remember boys we are already ahead in the race.”
We all clapped and ran out to the oval with the sounds of cheering in our ears. If you couldn’t see only 123 people in the seats you would have thought it was an international game. Since I was captain I also gave everyone a talk on team spirit. I asked them to do their best and put their hard work from soccer practise into this one game.
No one was on the bench today and the blow which was delivered at half time was harsh. Neil’s ill health had given in and he had to stay out for the rest of the game. No team had scored but losing a player was not a very good sign.
We ran at the ball with all we could. My lungs felt like they would tear but I pushed myself. But even I collapsed when the other team scored with ten minutes remaining.
Everybody didn’t give up though. We still fought like tigers with all our skill. With 59 seconds to go I found myself face to face with the ball with another player. I looked up at the clock. Ten second remaining. Thinking that it was better to just take a shot than keep running, my foot made contact.
Everybody jumped on me. I had kicked that goal. The goalie missed it by inches I had brought it down to penalty shoot outs since extra time did not see anyone score.
It was pressure as it was the last shot at goal in the penalty shoot outs and I was taking the shot. The goalie was good and I didn’t know if I could stop a rematch being triggered. I looked at the ball and ran up to kick it. The ball went about a mile off target, my heart sank. Then the miracle happened. The ball suddenly curved and missed the goalie’s fingers. I had done it! And there is nothing like a hot dog after such a fierce battle!
I now remember the great feeling as I lifted the trophy!
(This short story was published in my School Mag in 2009)