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The Dream of Duke
“Are you Ella? Number 8?”
“Yes, that’s me.”
“Well Ella, it’s nice to meet you. I’m a scout from Duke and I just watched your lacrosse game. You’re a really great player. Maybe a Duke player in a couple of years,” he shook my hand.
“Thank you, sir. Duke has been my dream since the 6th grade” I said trying to hold back my excitement.
“Well, maybe we can talk about this again. Have a nice day Ella,” he handed me his business card and walked away. I turned around smiling when I saw my best friend Sophia walking away with her head down.
That was sophomore year, and I’m still in contact with that Duke scout. It’s my senior year of high school now and Sophia and I have both been scouted since sophomore year, but we never thought it would lead to this. We said we wouldn’t let the competition get to us, but that didn’t last long. Ever since we were in 6th grade, going to Duke together has been our dream. Then we got to high school and scouting started.
I just got a call, I knew this would completely destroy Sophia. I didn’t know if I could tell her. Duke had just called me and said that I was up for a scholarship but against one other person. I had to tell her though, I picked up my phone and hesitantly texted her.
Sophia was at my house within five minutes. We walked up to my room and sat down on the bed.
“Sophia I have to tell you something,” I looked down nervously.
“Ella, so do I,” she said quietly.
“You go first.”
“Fine. Let’s say it on the count of 3. 1...2...3,” I counted.
“Duke offered me a scholarship,” we said in unison.
We looked at each other with wide eyes. Ella’s my competition. Sophia’s my competition.
“I have to go, I’ll see you tomorrow, Ella,” Sophia walked out. I sat on my bed not even knowing what to do.
I walked into lunch the next day and immediately made eye contact with Sophia. It was the first time we saw each other during the day. I rushed over and pulled her aside. She tried pulling away but I wouldn’t let her.
“Sophia, we need to talk about this. I have an idea,” I begged.
“Fine, I’m listening” she reluctantly agreed.
“Well, since Duke was been a lifelong dream for us, what if we both deny the scholarship. This friendship is important and we shouldn’t let a competition for college get in the way,” I explained.
“I don’t know Ella. This is a pretty significant offer. We could get a full-ride to Duke. It’s a big opportunity and I don’t know if I can give it up. I have to think about it,” Sophia got up and walked away. I just sat there, not even bothering to touch my lunch.
I have been thinking about what Sophia said to me and I almost feel betrayed. Would she really put this scholarship over our friendship? I guess we’ll see at our last game on Saturday.
It’s Friday finally, and right before lunch, I got a text. I looked down and it’s from Sophia. She had asked me to meet in the library during lunch.
I am sitting at a back table in the library, looking at my phone when Sophia sits down.
“Ella, I have been thinking a lot about this and I agree with your idea. How about we both tell the scout tonight that we don’t want the scholarship.”
“Yes Sophia! Thank you for going along with this. I’ll text you when I let the scout know!” I get up and hug Sophia. I walk out of the library feeling a weight lift off my shoulders.
I was driving to our last game of the season. I was nervous because this team was good, but also smiling knowing that my best friend and I were no longer fighting. Sophia and I sent our emails yesterday, but I was still going to talk to the scout after and apologize in person.
The game started and by halftime, we were up by 2. Except, Sophia was acting weird. She kept hogging the ball and not really passing, especially to me.
“Alright girls, this is the last half. Make it a good one,” our coach encouraged us. We broke our huddle and hustled onto the field. The whistle blew and we gained possession of the ball. Everyone was making great passes and scoring. I still didn’t get the ball passed to me that much, but I played good defense.
We got to the last 30 seconds and the score was tied 5-5. My teammate was running up the field with the ball. I got open near the goal and was ready to shoot. She threw the ball in my direction, then all of sudden, Sophia jumped in front of me, caught the ball and shot. The goalie missed and the time went off. We won. But that goal was supposed to be mine. I pushed the thought aside and put a smile on. Our coach congratulated us and I walked away. I saw the Duke scout speaking to Sophia and I figured she was apologizing for denying the offer like I planned. The scout finished with Sophia and walked over to me.
“Congratulations on the win Ella!”
“Thank you sir! I wanted to apologize in person for denying the offer, but I just didn’t think it was the best option for me,” I explained.
“Well, it’s ok we just gave the offer to the other candidate-,” At that point though, I didn’t even hear the rest of his sentence. Sophia betrayed me. She betrayed our friendship. She betrayed my trust. I was in complete and utter shock. I began to come out of my daze when Sophia walked over to me.
“No Sophia. You betrayed me. You betrayed this friendship. How could you!?” I cut her off.
“I’m sorry, really. It was just such a good opportunity and you have always been better than me and I thought that this would be my only chance. I’m really sorry I just-” she broke down crying. I immediately hugged her, I don’t know how mad I can really be at her though.
“Sophia, it’s ok, I’ll get over it. I’m really happy for you, just a little disappointed is all,” I continued to hug her. She pulled out of my hug and wiped her eyes.
“Thank you for understanding. Ella, I am really sorry though, I shouldn’t have let this competition come between our friendship. It was a stupid idea and I hope we can move past this,” Sophia said with tears running down her face.
“It’s ok, don’t worry about it,” I pulled her into another hug with tears beginning to fall.
I got home that day still upset, but happy for Sophia. I walked into my room and saw an envelope sitting on my bed. I opened it and read the letter...I was going to Duke.