Passes were flying, brisk and beautifully, to their intended targets. The kicks, arched with perfection, barely kissed the ground before their departure was rocketed off in direction of the stark white goal posts. As I gazed around the field, I gathered this sense of calm from my team mates. The scoreboard counted down towards start of the game as the breeze whispered to me a silent farewell. But the breeze wasn’t my concern at this point; we were about to play Richland center and I had a good feeling that today was going to be one to remember.Coach called everyone over to the gleaming metal benches located on the Richland center Track that surrounds the football field. In this instance however, it also doubled as the soccer field for the girls spring soccer season.
The stands adjacent to the field held the family and friends of the competing athletes. Indeed, we must have looked like caged entertainment with the chain-link fence that skirted the outer edges of the track. As Coach finished his pep talk, we lined up in numerical order-something reserved for highschoolers, seeing is that everyone expects us to be able to count!The nerves were about to reach their peek as both teams shook hands and stated the ritual, “ good luck! ” The announcer quickly murdered our last names, and continued to announce the other eleven starting players from our rival team. Then came the national anthem. I know I shouldn’t be complaining about this, but when you have to listen to a million renditions of it, you tend to become very picky on the ones you do and do not like. And this was one of those that fell under the “do not like” categories. It was slow.
It was boring. And it lasted about 5 minutes too long.Everyone was shaking off the sleepiness that had set in as the country singer was blaring her last note.
We huddled shoulder to shoulder discussing the game that was about unfold. Our game plan was total domination, our slogan was “TEAM”, and our mindset was on winning. Twenty-two players ran out onto the field to take their positions. Our captions had won the coin toss, choosing us to defend the side farthest from our bench. However, this also meant that Richland center would be kicking off, we would have to be on our toes.
A shrilling call of a whistle started the game.My world at that moment in time didn’t exist outside of the chain-link fence. My whole world was this one game and nothing else mattered. I was lost in the confinement of concentration, unable to deviate from my task at hand. The first half went by with a blur. Pass after pass, shot after shot, save after save. Both teams rose to this occasion. The scoreboard read loud and clear the same thing for forty minutes.
Zero to Zero. Everyone was a bit edgy because no one had scored. All this work and no results to show for was discouraging, but pressing on was our only option.
Snacking on the fan-favorite banana, we discussed options and ideas for goal opportunities. In this allotment of halftime, we also congratulated our goalie for the amazing job she’d been doing thus far. We were all smiles when we huddled together before the start of the second half. The breeze chilled our skin as we chose a word for our cheer. “SCORE” we screamed as we once gain took the stage.
The field is set, nerves are on edge, the kick off is in our hands, all that remains is the starting call of the whistle. “TWEET! “This half started with fire and intensity, a dangerous combination if not handled with care. The passes played out beautifully on both teams, the tensions rose, and the game was becoming more dangerous, more brutal, and more exhilarating.
Just when both teams thought we were at this undeniable stalemate, the breakaway occurred. Richland center raced towards our goal at lightning pace down the left sideline. This is when instinct kicked in, and I assumed center stage along with the streaking orange RC player. The world in my eyes had changed.
Nothing mattered more to me at this moment then shutting down that player. I had done this over a hundred times. I was on them in a flash, but that split second was all it took. I felt a pop. The ball was out of bounds and I was on the ground. But why was I on the ground? This had never happened before.
The Richland center player capitalized on my lapse in concentration and restarted the play before I could think any longer on the matter. And that’s when I knew something was wrong. Everything sort of stopped; all noise became absolutely pin drop silent.I couldn’t even feel the sting of the cold breeze. The only thing that mattered was stopping them from scoring. We had worked to hard for me to give up.
I kicked the ball out of bounds once again. The world was sort of coming back at this point. And all I could hear was people yelling at me to sit down. Why would I want to sit down? They were going to score; I couldn’t let them do that.
The team shouldn’t be asking me to do anything of the sort. That’s when I noticed I was limping. Why was I limping? I only fell for a few seconds. But there was that question again, Why did I fall?I didn’t have long to contemplate before the ball was yet again thrown into play. I limped with as much force as I could muster and realized it actually kind of hurt. The ball was once again kicked out of bounds and the whistle was blown to signal substitution. I heard my name called for the first time that night; I didn’t normally get breaks so this was a first.
I walked as best I could off the field and was then immediately told to go see the Richland Center trainer. And that’s when I was told the heart-wrenching news that I tore my ACL.My life has never really been the same since this incident. I was told things would go back to normal but it would take a lot of work. It has been a rough road, filled with a years of rehab, surgery, and lingering depression. It’s tough to wake up one day and find the thing you love most in the world striped away from you. I’ve learned to not take things for granted, to give 110%. Because you never know when tides will change and push you out into the depths of unfathomable waters.
Each moment in life is special, so live it to its fullest, because the tides are always changing.