August 31, 2010
Adidas shoes, white with three black strips. Five pairs of them are lined up in a haphazard row. Shoes that are connected to girls by mid-calf white socks. Black check mark. Nike.

Five more identical feet lined up on either side of us. Eight pairs of dress shoes beside them.

Black Jerseys. Blue and white writing. “Sangre”. Ten of them, if you count mine.

Noise. Blaring music. People; Yelling, laughing, talking, cheering. All amplified by the beating like a drum, within me. I’m not tired, not yet, but my breathe is becoming shorter.

At this point, it’s all about right now. We know that it’s a choice, but at the same time, we have only one choice. We have the choice to end it all right here, or hang on and go on. I tighten my grip on hands, intertwining, knowing everyone is doing just that. Holding on. Waiting. Mentally preparing.

If you could smell emotions, our bench would have had an essence of excitement and some fear. The excitement overriding the fear. More of the threat they posed. I suppose if you tried hard enough you would catch a whiff of confidence. Let’s face it, we already knew who should come out on top. However, there was always that chance, that unacceptable outcome.

Focus. Breathe. In. Out. Breathe. Blink. Time flies, and at the same time, barely moves. Registering everything that happens in three seconds, noticing they pass like only one. Focus.
Dreams. The hopes we always have. The success and failures of the past. Breathe.

Not only is it a refusal to fall. A refusal to fail. We know what we can do. We ride that line, and we aren’t ashamed.

Acknowledge. Learn. Forget. Be better. A goal we’ve been chasing this whole season. It continues now.

More noise. Another, louder voice added to the mix. One at a time.

“Number ten . . .”

One pair of white shoes and it’s jersey leaves the bench, onto the floor.

“Number Twelve . . .”

You know you’re being watched. All eyes on you. Tradition, or possibly superstition keeps it the same every time. First ours, then theirs, then the ref’s.

“Number fifteen . . .”

One by one, they stand up and run out. Met by a wall of cheers. We know where our fans are. Can’t let them down, Can‘t disappoint..

“Number twenty-two . . .”

Breathe. Smile. Adrenaline. . . Don’t fall. Don’t fall. Don’t trip, please don’t let me trip.

“Number twenty-four., Kathryn New . . .”

Up. Out. Jump. Run. Shake. Run. Pound. Run. Smile. Breathe.


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wordnerd54 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 4, 2010 at 9:29 am
This was great!  It was the perfect description of how an athlete thinks during a game.  I really liked your writing style.  The words were short and simple but they packed a punch, and each one had a very specific meaning.  (It honsetly reminded me of one of those really cool Gatorade or Nike commercials... You should send a copy to them, haha!)  Awesome job!
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