Glory or Shame

November 2, 2017
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This was it. We couldn’t go any further than this.   We had pushed ourselves all the way up to this spot. Here I was, standing still in front of hundreds and thousands of people.  My next shot would determine what all this work was really worth.
I stepped forward.  My team had done their job of getting me in this position and now I had to do mine.  The weight of pressure building on my back felt crushing.  I looked up to the cameras, flashing lights, and blinding brightness filling the stadium.  The fans looked like tiny specks from down on the field.  I glared at the goalkeeper and the noise stopped. In the midst of all this action, it seemed silent.
I took the ball from the ref and set it gently onto the white spot on the pitch.  “Three steps back, 2 steps left,” I told myself.  I wiggled my feet and knees to loosen my ankles and legs.  A tingly numbing sensation ran up my leg from my toenails to thigh.  This cold was not going to hold me back from what I needed to do.  But, now it was the time to shoot.
I peeked at the right corner and looked back at the ball.  Then, I started my first step.  Hopping above the ground almost floating, as I fell into my next step.  As I stretched my second leg back, I gathered as much energy as I could and shot my momentum forward into the ball.  Putting my foot vertical to the ground, straight through the center of the ball along with all the force of my body. I jumped into the air following through the ball. I stood still in mid air, frozen in time.  As the ball soared through the air, the roller coaster of adrenaline went wild and shook my body,  my head shaking every which way.  The goalie flew through the air diving to his right, my stomach dropped like I had just jumped out of a plane. But the ball speed right by the edge of his fingertips as the net caught the ball out of mid air.
Thousands jumped out of their seats like rampant beasts. I fell to the ground. Out of breath, I laid still on the ground taking everything in all at once. Flashing lights lit up the stadium every way I looked.  As the speaker cheered,“Gooooaaaallll,” the other team stared in devastation at the ball.  Despite the heartbreak of the opposing team, my teammates leaped with joy, hugging each other like this was the last time they would ever see each other again.  I drifted above the ground as my team picked me up.  “Family!” we chanted in unity.






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