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Down With Disappointment
“Everyone looses something they love,” my hockey coach, George, had once said.
It’s hard when you become part of that everyone. We were at nationals competing to become the best U-12 girls team in the country. It was the quarterfinals and we were playing the St. Louis Blues. The game had just ended and we were tied 1 to 1. Overtime would start in about a minute. As we crowded at our bench our coach gave us a pep talk. I don’t remember everything he said but I do remember one thing.
“Do this for yourself, not for your parents, not for me, do it because you want to.”
George’s words seemed to motivate me. Suddenly, I felt pumped and decided I would try my hardest to win this game because I wanted to win.
“Maddy, Ashley, Cat, Taegan, and Gina, you guys are out. You know what to do,” George finished.
We did our cheer and got ready for the faceoff. As I backed out from the bench I stared at the clock. My heart pounded, and sweat dripped down the side of my face. My stomach felt like a hollow pit as I breathed deeply. We circled around a while waiting for the other team to come from their bench. Five minutes, I thought, only five minutes to score one goal and change the whole situation.
“Come on Stars!” the crowd yelled.
“Let’s go Blues!”
When the ref blew the whistle, I zoned out the cheering from the crowd. Cat looked back to tell me she was going to try and get the puck to me. Not everything goes according to plan though. The puck was dropped, the other team won it, and the girl started skating down the ice. As she got near me I stepped up to get the puck but some how she went around me and kept going to the net. My other defense partner was back though. Odd enough the puck still found its way into the net. It was as if I had blinked and when I opened my eyes the scoreboard said 2 to 1. It was too fast for me to process. Too fast for me to think what happened was even real. And there I was, in front of our own net with the puck in it. There was our goalie sprawled out on the ice, while the other team’s goalie was being mobbed by her content teammates. Then there was my team, just sad, disappointed faces. I was disappointed in myself. After working hard all that season and coming to nationals and loosing. It was over.
We lined up to shake hands.
“Good game,” said all of the players on the other team. I’ve heard those two words at least 800 times by different hockey players. Sometimes their words are true, but other times they are not. I couldn’t decide what time it was now.
Then we got our extra sticks and water bottles, and headed into the locker room. Dead silence. That’s all the air was filled with. A few moments later George came into the in. He started off by saying,
“Everyone looses something they love. You guys love hockey, and there is nothing you should be ashamed of that happened today.”
I already knew I shouldn’t be disappointed. That having my head down, and having regret within me was not right. I knew that I should be proud to have made it to the quarterfinals; proud to have made it to nationals because there are teams out there that didn’t even make it that far. But when you’re only two games away from becoming the best team in America, and you let it slip right through your fingers, it’s very hard to be proud of yourself. I left that locker room feeling defeated. My head hung low with not a slight show of contentment. I told my teammates good game, and I meant it. I knew they had tried there hardest. Their responses seemed to be filled with anguish.
As I look back today though, I’m not so disappointed. I still do regret letting that girl get around and score, but George’s words from the locker room are still with me, and without loosing I would have never heard his words. He was right; everyone does loose something they love. Whether it’s a relative, pet, or just a game of a sport that you have a huge passion for. I still have many chances to go to nationals, and maybe one day I’ll come in first.