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The kids were filing into the main doors, tired and weary from the early wake up call. They all scattered to find their friends, converse about their summer vacations and the new people that they met. They all felt the same emotion. It was as if the kids wanted to join together and leave this wretched place. Amongst all of these people, one person stood out. There was a new kid in school, with no friends and no clue where any of his classes were. Ben wasn’t that athletic; this was shown because he was the worst soccer player on the team in his old school. He wasn’t the best runner, either, but that never stopped Ben from living life. Perhaps this school would be different than Oregon High School. Could it be possible that New York was a chance for him to start over? Was there a chance that he would shine here and not fail in anything he tried? Maybe, just maybe, he would become the superstar his father wanted him to be, not the disappointment of a son that he was now.
As he sat down in his first class, other students began to sit down, all of them looking at him. His dark brown hair was a short buzz cut, and his height made him stand out. Standing at only five feet four inches tall, he was one of the shortest kids in the freshmen grade. The bell rang, and everyone sat down in their seats. The teacher came into the classroom, and all of the kids sat up straight, folded their hands in their lap, and looked straight at the teacher.
“Hello, class. I am Mr. Brown. Welcome to geometry honors,” the teacher introduced himself. “I understand that all of you are very smart, and that I should treat you with utmost respect, correct?”
“Yes,” the class responded, almost with no emotion.
“Well guess what, I’m not going to give you that respect. I don’t think you deserve it, and quite frankly, I don’t think there should be an honors class,” Mr. Brown said. “Time for me to take attendance so I can see the low lives that cut on the first day. Say ‘here’ when I call your name.” He started to say people's names, and I started to daydream. “Ben Dovers?”
“Here,” I said.
“So, you’re the new kid here? I hope you are good at geometry, because I have sent kids home crying with bad grades before. I have also crushed some dreams, so be prepared, Ben Dovers.”
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I made it through part of my day, not easily, but I made it. Now it was 6th period, my lunch period. Throughout the day, I was debating whether or not I should actually go to the lunch room, or if I should just find a corner and eat there. In the end, I chose to go to the cafeteria, and as I walked in, I knew it was a big mistake. I felt it the second I walked in through the doors. I had walked into the wrong cafeteria, the senior cafeteria. This was what I was trying to avoid today.

Immediately, all of the people in the lunch room turned their heads, their eyes boring right through me.
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I went home early that day, bruised from the beat down and wet from the swirly. My mom drove me back up to school for soccer tryouts, though. I hopped out of the car, and after I had tied my cleats up, I ran out onto the field. I dribbled the ball around, maneuvering in and out of the cones. When tryouts started, I became a flawless machine, stopping for no one. My drive to make this team pushed me to my limits. When tryouts ended, I quickly grabbed my bag and swiftly walked towards the parking lot. I didn’t want to see the roster, because I didn’t want to feel rejection on the first day in my new school. I was almost off of the field when my name was called.
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I wore my jersey proudly the next day, the words White Rock written across my chest. I carry the number thirteen on my back, with the small V’s inside them that stand for varsity. And, to top it all off, the Captain patch was sewn on the right sleeve. No one bothered me for the rest of the week.
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Game Day

I was waiting for coach’s ok to get on the field. The rain was pounding, and the Montauk team was warming up already. I was anxious to get on the field.

“Ok, we’re good,” I heard coach say. I snatched my ball and bag and bolted out the door, my team behind us. Our fluorescent green uniforms stood out, with lime green shirts and jet black numbers, and white shorts. The field was extremely wet, and the ball wouldn’t travel far on the ground. We warmed up, and we took our positions on the field. The Montauk team broke out of their team meeting, and the red uniforms streaked to their positions. The ref brought the ball onto the field, placing it in the center of the circle.

I began to feel nervous, my stomach getting butterflies. I needed to be the top scorer for my team, as the striker, I was required to put the ball in the back of the net and win for my team. Looking at the other team, all of the players were at least five feet nine inches tall. The whistle was blown, and Montauk kicked off. Montauk ran the ball right up to the left wing, and almost instantly the ball was stolen. Our left wing, Jason Douglas, took off down the field. I sped down the middle of the field, hoping that the defenders would collapse on Jason. As expected, they did, and Jason kicked the ball to me. I trapped the ball, turned, and ran down the middle of the turf. There were only two people standing between me and the goal, the sweeper and the goalie. I weaved the ball in and out of my legs, causing the defender to stumble. I ran around him, and turned to face the goalie.

My heart started to pound in my chest, and the goalie began to run out at the ball. I stepped up, planted my left foot, and smashed my foot into the ball. I aimed to the left of the goalie, and he desperately tried to dive after it. He lunged at it in a final attempt to save it, but the ball was too fast for him. It hit the back of the net at a tremendous speed, the fans in the bleachers erupting with cheers.
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The next day in school was great. Almost everyone in the hallway congratulated me for my two goals and one assist in the game yesterday. I began to talk to my teammates in school, and the games we played in for the regular season became easy wins. The team was on a six game winning streak, and White Rock was leading the division in all statistics.
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It was nine o’clock on Saturday morning, and we were in our lime green uniforms again. The first round of the NOGA tournament was about to begin, and we were running around, loosening up. As I ran my warm up laps around the field, I spotted two faces that I had seen on TV. Kenny Cooper and Juan Agudelo, both strikers for the New York Red Bulls, sat down on the bleachers to watch our game. I couldn’t believe it, but two professional soccer players were going to watch the game, live.
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It was the eighty fifth minute, with five minutes left in the game. The score was tied, zero to zero until now. Riverhead had just scored, and now White Rock was in a one point deficit. My team kicked the ball to start the game again, and I started to jog up the field. Our left wing had the ball again, and I started to pick up my pace. He looked up, saw me, and kicked the ball in front of me. I ran as hard as I could, trying to outrun the defender. I got to the ball first, spun on the ball and changed direction. I headed straight for the goal, sprinting with as much energy in my body. I made it into the goalie box, ready to shoot. I planted my foot next to the ball, ready to launch the ball, but a defender had slid at me from behind and cut my legs out from under me!

The ref blew his whistle, calling for a penalty kick. He set the ball up on the mark, and I stepped up. The crowd was going wild, and I was ready to kick. The goalie crouched down, ready to dive. I ran up to the ball, planted, and kicked the ball. The ball soared through the air, heading to the left of the goal. The goalie attempted to guess where my shot was going, but he guessed wrong. He dove to the right side. The ball hit the net, tying the game at one to one. The crowd went crazy, and the game time ended. The game would come down to penalty kicks to decide the winner.
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The rain began to come down hard right before the penalty kicks begun. My team was the defending team, so Riverhead was shooting first. They stepped up to the ball, and the ref blew his whistle.
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The crowd was going insane. Riverhead didn’t make any of their penalty kicks, but neither did White Rock. There was only one shooter to go for White Rock. Me. I walked up to ball, staring down the goalie the entire time. I took a few steps back, still looking at the goalie. The whistle was blown, and I began to slowly trot towards the ball. I sped up and right before I kicked the ball, I completely stopped moving, just for a second. The goalie flinched, and then shuffled to the left. Quickly, I took my final step to the ball and kicked it as hard as I could to the right side. The goalie, who had realized his mistake by now, took two steps to the right and dove, arms extended towards the right side of the goal. The ball barely eluded his outstretched fingers, hit the post on the goal, and bounced backwards, into the net.
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After the first day in the NOGA tournaments, the divisions were entered and submitted to the public. The bracket had us placed in division one, in the fourth seed. We were the underdogs, looking to cut out the other team’s legs the first chance that we get. We all went home, getting into our parents car. Coach told us that we better be prepared for a week of hell in practice, because we have a reputation to uphold.
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One week passed, and all of us had a terrible week in practice. We got Friday off, so we could rest up before the game. Now, thirty minutes before the game, I was jogging my warm up laps, and sitting in the bleachers was yet again was Kenny Cooper and Juan Agudelo. And they were watching me. Not anyone else. Just me.
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I had a stupendous game, with three goals and one assist. We shut out the second seed in our division, knocking them out of the NOGA tournament. And, to top the week off, I had aced my first test in Mr. Brown’s geometry honors class. This school was better than Oregon.
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The End



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