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Compete to Defeat
What if this upcoming season is like last year? What if Avery tries to ruin me again? What if the coach believes her fake excuses again? Preseason starts today, what if she- The loud sound of my alarm clock brought my scattering thoughts to a halt.
I sat up in my bed and exclaimed, “I can’t have this happen to me again, I just can’t.” I rolled over to shut my alarm clock off. 8:00, perfect, I thought as I got out of bed. While I was getting ready for soccer, thoughts raced back and forth in my head.
Last season was atrocious. I barely played, and I had to sit on the bench and watch the other goalie, Avery, make all the mistakes in the world. It was just embarrassing in every way possible. I have been a goalie for eight years, and she has been one for two. Although I am two years younger than her, I still have way more experience. Not only was last season embarrassing to me personally, but also to the whole team. The high reputation set for our high school team was quickly ended when we lost to one of the easiest teams because of one stupid goal that easily could have been saved. I could go on and on about last year, but it’s time to move on. It’s a new season now. A new start. Another chance to compete for the spot I deserve.
The sound of my friend’s car pulling in the driveway pulled me back to reality once again.
“Come on, we can’t be late for the first day of preseason!” My teammate, Maddie, shouted. On the car ride to the field, we got any last minute nerves out, and we were ready to go.
When we got to the field and put our bags down, Maddie and I started stretching. While this was happening, I see Avery coming over. Oh God, what does she want.
“Chloe, I just thought I would let you know that I am one of the captains now, so you have no choice but to listen to me.” She said, trying to sound overpowering.
“Oh I’m sorry, but first of all, you’re not the only captain, you share it with three other people. Second of all, you are not the coach, so don’t go telling me what to do. I have been playing goalie way longer than you so if anything, it should be the other way around.” I stated and walked away. Nice try Avery, but I’m not falling for any of your tricks this year. I thought, and continued to prepare myself for the hard work I was about to do.
“Okay girls, go start your warm ups,” My coach shouted.
I get up confidently, with my gloves already on, and jog onto the turf before Avery could finish putting her gloves on. When she finally gets to the field, we start warming up. I hit the ball as hard as I possibly could at her, and each time I did this, she made some type of mistake. I could see her getting angrier by the second. She tried to mimic my actions by kicking it hard back at me, but I was not bothered by it, and still made the save.
“What’s your problem?” Avery said as she got up after another mistake.
Camly, I replied, “Nothing, I just practice how I play.” Her anger was stronger than ever now. “And unlike some people, I’m not soft in games.” I said as I walked over to pick up the ball.
I turn around, just to see that her angry face is right in front of mine.
“Excuse me? Who do you think you are? I’m the captain, and I can do anything I want.” She was screaming at me now, but I remained calm. Kill her with kindness, I told myself, and just work hard. Instead of fighting back, I simply smirked and continued to serve hard shots in every time.
“OK that’s it!” She said as she picked the ball up out of the net and came towards me. Not knowing what she was going to do, I just stood there waiting. She was fuming, and I could see it all in her eyes. It was like the words jealousy, anger, and fear were floating over her head. Jealous that I was doing better, angry because she was making mistakes, and fearful that I was going to get more playing time than her. However, the word that was written across both of our heads was competition, and I was not losing this time. I was going to compete with her, until I defeat her.
Avery was about ten feet away from me now, and she was picking up her pace.
“Um what are you doing, it’s still your tur-”
Before I could even finish my sentence, she came over and pushed me to the ground.
“Woah, I thought this was soccer, not wrestling.” I said with a smirk as I got up. She turned around and gave me a dirty look, but did not say anything back. I’m not letting her get under my skin this time. I have a plan, I got this.
We continued practice with tensions tighter than a rubber band. The undeniable competition could clearly be seen by all of the other players.
“Woah, Chloe, what’s up with Avery today?” Maddie asked during a water break.
“Well, she just can’t accept the fact that,” My voice started getting louder, “I’m not taking any of her bull-”
“Okay, okay,” She pulled me farther away from where Avery was, and then continued in a whisper, “Chloe, remember, just show your talent on the field. That’s all you have to do to get her mad. Be the better person, and coach will see that.”
“OK, thanks Maddie,” I said as we jogged back onto the field. For the rest of practice, I did not say another word to Avery. Instead, I did exactly what Maddie told me, and it worked.
When practice ended, I continued with my plan. I walked right up to the coach and told her everything. From the chaos of last year, to the incident that happened earlier, I explained my side of the story. By the end of it, she actually believed me.
“Wow, I never realized how manipulative Avery is,” she exclaimed, “Oh, and by the way, I saw what happened, but I didn’t say anything because I think you handled it very well.” We both laughed, but then she continued, “Also, I think your performance has been great, so expect some more playing time this season.”
“Thank you!” I replied as I grabbed my bag and started to walk off the field.
From that day on, my high school soccer career finally went in the direction I wanted it to. The competition got crazy at times, but if there is anything I learned from preseason, it’s that all you really need is a positive attitude and a positive work ethic to take you far.