Another girl shut down on my team. I watch with a pounding heart and jumping stomach as the other team has their girl skate up to the puck. She goes in puts a move on our goalie but with no success. So I step up I skate up to the puck gathering momentum as I go hoping and hoping that I won’t mess that I won’t blow my chance. We had been through so much not just in this one game but the entire season and it all came down to these moments. The normal three periods had been played with no effect so we kept fighting it went to overtime but no one could claim the game as their own. So now I am skating towards the puck thinking just skate, deke, and shoot don’t even worry about what is coming next. I can still hear my team chanting my name though as I approach the puck with what I hope is the confidence saying to myself, I need to put the puck past the red line and into the net. I skate and skate I fake right and the goalie follows me. But then I go left and she is stuck she goes down into a butterfly hoping she can stop the rubber disk. I let the puck slide off of my stick aiming straight for the low left corner. I keep thinking to myself, I blew it I can’t believe I just blew it. But then I looked down and all that caught my eye was that one small black puck that was sitting in the net. I saw the goalies face which had only an expression of disbelief and worry. I sprint back to the bench throwing my arms in the air in celebration my team jumps out of the bench and jumps on me. What they forgot was that only the shootout line-up was allowed on the ice during the shootout, because unfortunately the other team had one more chance to get it back, one more chance to score. I turned at the last minute to see the girl skating towards the net, puck on her stick. I could tell by her cautious movements that she was nervous and probably shaking like crazy. As she got closer to the net I started to scream on the inside but I couldn’t hide my excitement as our goalie stopped her shot with what looked like ease. I sprinted to the net and jumped on Steph (our goalie). But when I got up I realized the celebration wasn’t over as my entire team attacked me with jumps of joy and exclamations like “that was amazing” and “congrats Lauren” or even “I love you sooooo much”. It was the goal I had been waiting for all season and it happened at the perfect time, the time my coach assured me it would happen, when we needed it most in a playoff game when we were fighting to continue our season. I can’t help but think what my face must have looked like as I skated off the ice still in shock that I had just claimed our spot in the playoff quarter-finals. Those moments passed so fast yet they seemed like the longest of my life as I watched as the best girls on my team (the captains, sophmores, and older girls) were rejected on every shot each one of them took. And then I came up an eighth grader that no one expected to see get a game winning goal in a varsity playoff game. The feeling was like an explosion of excitement that I will never let go of and I walked out of that rink smiling like crazy and receiving texts from everyone saying congrats and great job. How they found out so quickly amazes me but it doesn’t amaze me nearly as much as how great I felt walking out to the bus not caring about the long bus ride back home.
March 2, 2011