Roadblocks: Not Always Physical

October 29, 2017
By Anonymous

My high school l is very sport-orientated; one of the more popular sports being soccer, with 6 teams competing throughout Bergen County. My first year of high school, I tried out for the boys freshman team. About a week later I found out I made the team and was overjoyed. I knew I wasn't the best player, but making the team gave me some hope that I might improve. Our team was incredibly good because a bunch of the starters came from high level club teams. Unfortunately for me, I barely knew anyone on the team, while almost everyone else came from one team and were very good friends already. In addition to the social aspect, I knew it would take a lot of hardwork to get the coaches attention in a positive way, but I didn't know it would be impossible.

A little bit of background on our coach: from the outside, he seems like a very nice and pleasant guy, but after spending a week practicing with him, I saw another side. Coach was very biased and was so hellbent on winning. Upsettingly, he only cared about the starters and as a result he separated the practice into two very specific groups; group one and group two. Group one consisted of all the starters and was filled with intense drills coach’s supervision at all times. On the contrary, group two, the group I was in, had a much more laid back practice and coach seemed to not care about us. We would do very general drills while the other practice group would work on very specific factors?. Everybody was aware of this segregation, but nobody was bothered by it, besides myself. The only time players in group two would get playing time is when we were playing against a very bad team and we were up by a lot of goals.

The players on our team have very different and unique personalities varying from taking everything extremely seriously to laughing like a hyena at any point during the practice. I tend to lead to the more serious side because I genuinely cared about the team and wanted to get better. I often get frustrated because my fellow teammates would take practice like a joke and goof around the whole time. Our team split into very definitive cliques; the Ians, the Aidans, the Kurts, the Jokesters, and the Antisocial Losers. Guess which group I was a part of. Becoming close with the guys took some time but eventually we all became one big family. Similar to all families, we fought. Most of the time the reasons we fought was over petty stuff like who should get the balls or someone just being annoying. We all bonded over our abundance of wins and became closer when we had our first loss against Tenafly. 

Suddenly, it was game day and it was shaping up to be a long game against an especially  bad team. We were up by 3 and coach was putting almost everyone in the game because he didn't want the starters to get hurt. Unfortunately, I was not one of those people. It was becoming a boring game to watch for the game was so unevenly matched. Close to the end of the second half, coach walked over to the bench.

Reluctantly he said “Sasha, get over here.” I was quite unprepared and surprised that coach wanted me to go in.
“Yes coach.” I happily replied.

After about five minutes of slow-paced action, I had (literally) a striking opportunity. I ended up near the back post and our right winger had crossed the ball into my area. When everybody talks about an important moment, people always say time slows down. On the contrary, time seemed to speed up and I couldn't react quick enough. The grass beneath my feet seemed to open under me and soon I was dangling on a cliff in my mind. I flopped the shot and the ball ended up right in the goalies hands. To add salt to my wounds, a defender on the opposing team stomped on my foot and I was filled with agonizing pain. I could barely stand up, let alone walk. After about fifteen seconds, coach noticed and called me off. I had to make the embarrassing walk/limp back to the bench where I sat in melancholy. I realized on the bus as we were heading home that I was so concerned about getting on the field rather than how I was actually playing. By overthinking, my mind had stopped myself from succeeding.  looking back there are different ways that I could have combated these roadblocks such as practicing more, asking the coach for advice, and overall trying harder. Some people are born with talent while others have to rely on hard work to get to where they want to be. Hard work and perseverance can take someone far and overcome almost any roadblocks that come up.

The author's comments:

Soccer has always been a big part of my life and this peice is dedicated to the amazing sport.

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