An Unfamiliar Battlefield

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My whole body tensed…sweat poured endlessly, with total concentration I threw up the little yellow ball and swung at it as hard as I could. My chest burning, my lungs locked up; I could hardly breathe because of the pressure I was feeling. It was the biggest match of the year, a state championship resting between me, a yellow ball, and my opponent across the net.

Point after point, I felt my body had reached total exhaustion. My arms grew heavy as I swung the racket back and forth. All the countless hours spend on the court; drilling…The sweat, the blood I put into what all came down to this moment. 40-30, on serve, I win the game to go up 5-2 in the set. Cameras flash, people chatter about the number one singles player at Coronado about to bring it home for the tenacious Cougars. One more game and that burning desire would become reality. I could feel the heft of an imaginary state ring worn proudly on my finger. The newspaper articles bearing my name flash before my eyes.
I finish drinking my water and change sides. Shots are delivered back and forth like soldiers and a battlefield. I press on, my goal is in sight. Up 0-30 against his ferocious serve I feel invincible. I grow confident; hitting bigger and bigger until my own charisma implodes my performance. A game there, a game here and its all tied up. Frustration and anxiety well up in my eyes. My confidence lingers away from me, and slowly I smell defeat. The white flag is not coming up yet, and I’ll fight till the end I keep trying to assure myself as I’m down for the first time the whole match. We change sides, my spirit is wounded but my tenacity and the rumble of my teammates gives me false hope that some way I can come back to double match point. Somehow with impossible odds, I regain my focused and place the next two balls up the line with the adroitness of a surgeon to tying up the game.

My shots became weaker as my sprit dwindles in the tie breaker. Match point once again for Palo, the lat match on the court. Peering eyes pierce straight into my soul, their hopefulness begging my body to live up to the moment. “Do it for us!” the voices scream. He serves. . . the net twangs. . . A silence, as the ball twirls deciding my fate. In agony the ball falls on my side of the court as if chastising me at my effort. I fall to my knees, defeated 6-7 the numbers still fill the black of my mind. I let down my team, the match to decide our glory or failure.





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