Finally Okay

October 28, 2009
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“Yeah! She made varsity as a FRESHMAN...Yes, we are so proud she’s doing great and loves high school,” my parents were finally proud of me and I was not going to let that slip through my fingers. Like other parents of a freshman playing for the soccer team, my parents hoped I would play varsity. Finally after wishing on so many shooting stars and looking for hours in my backyard for four leaf clovers, I was given the privilege of being the only freshman to play varsity.
I began to train harder, and I would get more and more playing time. At one point I got pulled off the field abruptly for not tacking as tough as I should have. Coach pulled me to her side immediately reprimanding me, “Lauren, I know you are just a freshman and have a lot to learn, but if you make silly mistakes like that you will regret it,” she put me back in and in the next five minutes I ran all across the field, tackling as hard as I could, sprinting like my life depended on it to try to just get a toe on the ball. She pulled me aside at the end of the game, “Well done, kid,” I was bursting with pride for the rest of the night.
At the end of the season on the night of November 16th, we played in an intense game for the state cup. The apprehension and determination was thick. I was on the field playing forward and the ball came at me in the air. As I jumped up to flick the ball to my teammate behind me, I felt as though I was suspended in air for minutes. I didn’t even notice the defender behind me. Her head came flying into play, in place of the ball, I hit her head. She immediately fell to the ground. I could see her crying and screaming but no noise was coming out. Rushing after the ball, I fell to the ground. I kept trying to get up, but the earth was moving underneath my feet. Nothing made sense; I didn’t even hear the referee blow the whistle. I looked around me as I was stumbling across the field and could see the team slowly coming towards me. They were shouting something in my direction, but they weren’t making any sense.
I was just so confused I had to sit down. My coach came towards me, but what she said was mystifying, I tried understanding, but my head hurt too much to concentrate. I only remember flashes of the night: the EMT asking me questions that I didn’t know the answer to, my dad using soft tones as we sped on the highway to the ER, the blinking lights to the monitors at the hospital, the word “concussion” said over and over again. Besides getting hit, the thing that is etched into my mind so clearly is the phone conversation I had with my grandma. “Are you ok?” she asked, but since I didn’t know the answer, I gave the phone to my dad.
For six months after November 16th, 2006, I was not allowed to run or play any contact sports. I had half days at school, and I wasn’t allowed to do homework or take tests. To anyone else that might seem like a dream, but for me it was a nightmare. I suffered from horrendous mood swings, deep depressions and lost many friends in those short six months. But the thing I missed most was playing soccer. I removed all my soccer clothes, trophies, medals, posters, and magazines from my room. I slept in a blank abyss of fitful sleep and sporadic crying. But as the painfully slow six months came to a merciful close, I went back to playing. My parents and doctors told me that it might be intimidating at first, but I was determined to return to the thing I did best.
I played for a premier soccer team called CFC Wildcats; we were at a huge tournament and after watching the first half from the bench, my coach finally asked if I was ready. I replied confidently, “Yes.” We were down by one goal and the tension was thick throughout the field. Nervously, I stepped onto the field. Soon I found out, I hadn’t completely lost my touch. Soon enough the play was moving up in my direction. As I stood in front of the goal, my teammate crossed the goal, and I knew this was my chance. If I could score, I was going to be okay, and sure enough as the ball proceeded in front of me, I stuck my leg out and redirected the ball with a powerful kick to the upper left corner of the goal. I had done it. I was going to be okay. I could at last answer my grandma’s question.

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