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Too Good To Be True
I could feel my heart pulsating all over my body. My hands started to shake with the excitement and anticipation for the fight ahead. The only idea, the only thought that was going through my head was ‘We made it. didn’t think we’d make it. We may even win,’ I looked around at my team, seeing the feelings in their eyes, mirroring mine. But I had much more to worry about than they did. For starters, I was the only goalie. I had no back up. If I make a mistake on the field, it could cost the team the game. We would have come here for nothing. We would have endured impossibly high temperatures, and tons of scratches and bruises that did us no good. I would have gotten injured for nothing.
I heard the referee blow his whistle, stating the obvious; the biggest game of our lives was about to start. My coach pulled us into the center of the field. “This is it girls. The most important soccer game of your lives. This is your chance to prove yourselves to the world, to show those cocky Hawaiians who think they have us beat. This morning, when you guys were warming up, for the first time ever, I thought we had a shot. You were all serious, and I’m proud to be your coach, and you should be proud of yourselves. This will be the day you’ll remember for the rest of your lives” he said. We all had our eyes on him, serious for the first time in our lives. After days of games, hours of team bonding, a lot of team injuries, and tons of horrible movies, we made it to the National Championship in Virginia Beach, VA. We got on the field, preparing for the fight of our lives.
Two teams from two totally different sides of the world: One lonely team from Hawaii, the other, a hard fought team from New York. Both teams got on the field. One common goal; to win. We all stared at each other, frozen, waiting for the whistle. Two seconds later, the game started.
All the players ran towards the ball. The parents cheered. My team played hard, making passes and plays that I’d never seen them do before. We looked professional, and the adrenaline was thick in the air. We were at the top of their game, and we surprised even ourselves. But the other team was even more surprised. We weren’t playing the same way as the last time we played them, all thanks to the excellent planning of our coach, and the other team was not prepared.
They figured us out eventually, though. Right before the end of the first half, they scored a goal on me. It was a header, a beautiful shot, showing why they were in the championship. I felt the whole world spin. My heart dropped to the floor. “I let them down” I thought, “I let my whole team down.” The half ended, along with my hopes of winning.
We all walked to the side lines, our heads down in defeat. When we got to the side line, our coach led us to shade. Then he started to yell. “I can’t believe you guys!” he yelled, making us all feel worse. “I’m not mad we’re losing, I’m mad that you guys just gave up after they scored. I want you guys to get out there, and do your best. You can win, I know you can. You know you can. So go out there and do it. Wipe those smug smiles off their faces, and give them the game of their lives,” he said. We cheered, and with new hope, we walked on the field.
When the referee blew the whistle, my team started to play stronger, with more hope. It was like a fire was burning in all of us, pushing us through. My team ran them to the ground, almost like we were never tired. Pretty soon, my team was running down the field, making passes and dribbling around the other team like they weren’t even there. Then we scored our first goal.
It was an amazing play, a whole team effort, starting with a punt by yours truly in goal, ending in an amazing shot by our midfielder, Noreanna. There was a moment of shocked silence, and then everyone was cheering. I ran up to my team from the goal, which I had never done before. I felt like I was flying. We jumped on top of each other, screaming our heads off. Normally, I would be annoyed at my team for bad sportsmanship, but I was so happy, I couldn’t care less.
That’s when my team started to make a comeback. I started to make the flying saves that I was known and loved for, Annie, one of our defenders, started to make unbelievable passes, and more people started to show some of our New York spirit. The other team almost gave up. It was like they already lost. In a matter of minutes, we scored another goal, by Noreanna again. Now that we were winning, my team acted more appropriate, but our scoring didn’t end there. Five minutes before the end of the game, our offensive player, Alex, kicked the ball by accident, but she scored anyway. By that time, everyone knew we won.
When the referee blew the whistle that ended the game, I felt this huge rush of energy, like I was on fire, but not getting burned. I screamed at the top of my lungs and ran to my team. They ran to me too, which was a first, and we dog pilled. That’s when I saw the other team. They were on the floor, practically rolling in their own tears, and I mean tears. They were all crying, which is something I’ve never seen happen at a soccer game. But then I realized why. This game was big, huge to the point of not believing we won. Only later did I find out that the Hawaiian team hadn’t lost a game in three years, and they were so shocked that they lost to us. Frankly, so were we.
After we shook hands, my team and I walked our “walk of victory” down to the presentation area. There, we waited until they called our team name. I was so excited, I couldn’t sit still. When they called our name for champion, I felt a rush of pride an accomplishment run through me. We walked on stage, got our medals, and took our picture next to the huge trophy. That picture caught the best moment of my life, a moment, I’m still trying to convince myself actually happened, since it was too good to be true.