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“Breathe. Just breathe. You are going to be okay...”
I ran out to the pool deck, trying not to burn my feet, but it was way too late for that. The sound of laughter, the smell of chlorine, the hot cement burning my feet. It is my home. The pool. I walked through the mountains of lane lines trying not to cut my feet, but that is almost impossible. It’s Friday. I know most people love Friday, and can’t wait for it. But for polo players, it is the absolute worst day of the week. Leg day. Hello sore legs, goodbye walking.
This is going to be the absolute hardest practice of my entire life, and I am going to die.
“Get in ladies! I mean unless you want to do pride sprints.”
I swear, within the next five seconds, all forty girls were in. Weight belts, caps, hairties, bottles and all, flung into the pool like monkeys fling from one vine to another.
“Of course. Last one in, last one out. I’m impressed, two weeks in a row.”
What can I say. I’m impressive.
“Ladies! We have a one hundred tread. One’s go!”
I sliced through the water, hands first, and slowly came up for air.
“Shoulders out, hands out! Shoulders out, elbows out! Shoulders out, arms out! Hold!”
“Get your arms out!”
“This is the time you push yourself!”
My heart, racing a thousand beats per second, my arms and legs shaking, my breath heavy.
Coach looked at me, shaking his head like I had just given up. I wanted to tell him. But I couldn’t.
Coach ran to me, trying to see what was wrong. I wanted someone to help me. Anyone. The tears had been rushing down my face all practice. No one noticed.
He pulled me out of the water, dragging my head against the cement.
“Can you hear me? She’s not breathing! Someone call 911!”
The peacefulness of the water was all I could hear. Splish, splosh, splish, splosh.
“3, 2, 1, lift!”
Splish, splosh, splish, splosh. It was peaceful. Then everything went black.
“Breathe. Just breathe. You are going to be okay. We are going to the hospital, and they are going to take great care of you. Just hold on.”
“We have a fifteen year old female. The patient was at practice, and stopped breathing. We attempted CPR. Her parents are out of state. We have the coach here, but he does not know much about what happened.”
“Okay, bring her in. The surgeon is on his way. Is she aware of what's going on?”
“Her heart stopped beating. She’s dead sir.”