Sitting, waiting, wondering if he would pick me.
"Julie," CoachMorrow called.
That was it. I wasn't picked. Not this time, I thought tomyself as I watched my best friend run out onto the soccerfield.
"Julie, do you have your school insurance?" hehollered.
"No," she hollered back.
"Sorry, you can'tplay without it." Julie ran back on to the sidelines,disappointed.
These pre-season scrimmages were important not just to getus in shape, but for coaches to see us for the first time, and get an idea ofwhich team to assign us to.
"Sarah" I put my head upquickly.
"Yes," I said, hoping.
I ran to my position on the field. I was always on the leftwing, against the best forward, the best player on the team.
He told us togo and we did. Each time the ball would move from person to person, my body woulduncontrollably follow. At times not realizing where I was, still aware of mysurroundings, of people moving toward me.
The teams weren't really fair.Varsity girls on one and JV girls on the other. The ball seemed to stay down atmy end of the field, no matter how hard we all tried. They had four pointsagainst us, we had none. We weren't being aggressive, the defense, myselfincluded.
I looked around, Jennifer was coming down the field, closer andcloser, through the last line, whizzing past Alison. I was there waiting.Jennifer wasn't going to get past me.
I started running, running at her. Iwas ready to take the ball. It was spontaneous. I truly didn't know what I wasdoing or what I would do if I got the ball, just that I had to.
I wasthere just a step ahead and the ball would finally be mine! BANG! Our two bodiescollided. Mine was on the ground rolling in pain. Jennifer ran on to score agoal. Nothing was real. Nothing except the pain. Bodies surrounded me and CoachMorrow ran over. My ankle felt disconnected. I was too afraid to look. Mrs.Wilder, the assistant coach, came over. I got up slowly, clinging to theirshoulders as I hobbled to the sidelines. I lay flat on the ground, crying, mybody shaking.
A women EMT who had been watching us came over. She lookeddown at ankle then held my hand and talked to me. I don't even remember what wetalked about. I still cried, but she made me feel safe.
The school nursecame running down the field. She also looked at the ankle. "Why wasn't thereany ice down here?" she asked, looking up from my ankle.
"I amsorry," I responded. She smiled and looked down at me.
"It isn'tyour fault, don't worry," she said wiping away my tears. Mrs. Wilder stoodover me.
"We can put her in the back of my station wagon," shesuggested. There were a mass of questions about telephone numbers and whathospital to go to. Coach Morrow and another women bent down and I was lifted tothe car.
"Thank you so much," I said through tears to the EMT. Iwouldn't see her again. She smiled and the nurse came in and closed the trunkdoor. Mrs. Wilder drove. The nurse and I talked. She was very nice andunderstanding.
We drove right to the Emergency Room. Two nurses helped meonto a stretcher. My ankle was so swollen they had to cut off my sock andshin-guard. They were as gentle as they could be. The two nurses wheeled me intoa room right in front of the main desk. I lay there scared and in pain. The nursecame over with a needle. Jab! Right into my arm. The doctor soon came over andasked me to tell him when it hurt. Of course everything hurt. My pediatriciancame. Coach Morrow came, smelling of cigar smoke. The doctor put me in a splintand I cried in agony. My mouth was getting drier and drier.
As I laywaiting for my x-ray, I was calming down. I didn't think about anything exceptgetting home. Crutches in hand I was loaded back into the car. Mr. Morrowfollowed and we all limped into my house. I laid down on my couch with fourpillows elevating my ankle.
The next day I went to the orthopedist.Fortunately, nothing was broken. The doctor told me a cast would be the wisestthing. For me, that meant crutches on the first day of school. When I was told"No soccer," my heart sunk. All summer I had worked hard to showeveryone I could play.
But this happened for a reason. I went to schoolthe first day sweating and almost ready to cry. When the cast came off, I wore abrace and had physical therapy. Nothing can prepare you for what will happen inlife.
I looked around me at all the people walking, running, doing thethings I wasn't able to do. I finally appreciated something I had always takenfor granted. To be able to walk was the happiest moment. And because of this Ican say I work harder, because I now know that it can all be taken away in aminute. t
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.