A Game to Remember This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 8, 2009
Sweat ran down my face as I sprinted. Two obstacles lay in front of me. I made a split-second decision that sealed my fate. Moving fluidly and trying to make it look as real as possible, I lunged to the left and then quickly cut to the right. The black and white ball at my feet moved with me as if we were connected. I drew my leg back as though cocking a gun. My foot contacted the ball with a crisp, hollow sound that made me smile. It flew across the grass and into the lower left corner of the net. This was so much more than a game. It was a battle that only one team would win, a fight that left you breathless and shaking with adrenaline. This was soccer.

I had worked hard for four years in club soccer to prepare for this moment, this game. But my spirits were dashed as I watched the other team sprint down our sideline, cross the ball directly over my teammates' heads, and shoot it into our net with incredible force.

My head bowed and discouraging thoughts filled my mind. Only two minutes remained in the game and I could see no way for us to tie the score with so little time left. It seemed like all was lost.

I glanced at my teammates and saw an array of emotions on their faces. Some were furiously red and I could almost see steam rising and evaporating into the sunny sky. Others had their heads down and were kicking the dirt with their cleats. But most of them were rigid with anticipation and nerves. Fire burned in their eyes, and I could see they were out for blood. Once I saw that, I knew we would not go down without a fight. My attitude synched with that of my more determined teammates and the others soon caught on.

When the referee blew his whistle we were off! The ball spun and wove patterns around our opponents as they dumbfoundedly watched us attack. Moving as a unit, we fought our way down the field.

I heard my name over the sound of 20 pairs of cleats ripping into the grass, and glanced up just in time to see the ball flying toward me. At this point, I was right in front of the net. All I needed to do was tap the ball into place and take a shot. This was it; this was my moment to shine.

My stomach knotted and my breathing went from frantic to nonexistent. I heard no one, saw nothing, and felt only my momentum driving my right leg forward. I contacted the ball with an audible “whack,” and it rocketed toward the net. The keeper dove, but she was too late. The ball was in the back of the net. We had done it! We had tied the game.

Reflecting on the events of that match, I have come to realize that it was only through teamwork and determination that we were able to tie the score. In reality, a soccer game is much like life. If we go through it feeling defeated and alone, we will never reach our goals and succeed.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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ButterflyHeart20 said...
Nov. 8, 2009 at 2:59 pm
I LOVE THIS! Exceellent and well thought out description of soccer. This is a amazing, keep up the good work. I play outside midfielder, but yesterday I was center midfielder and the game was instense. We lost one to zero, but it was a good fight, and we didn't let the other team come down with another goal.
ButterflyHeart20 replied...
Nov. 8, 2009 at 2:59 pm
Ah! Pardon my typos....."excellent" and "intense" :)
kellyd said...
Oct. 13, 2009 at 5:24 pm
This is such a well writen piece! I play soccer everyday on two different teams and feel the same way about the sport that you do. There were some intense descriptive words that better described what was going on. I loved how you said" I heard my name over the sound of 20 pairs of cleats ripping into the grass, and glanced up just in time to see the ball flying toward me." This makes me picture what is happening. Although you should spell out 20 like twenty. I also loved how you said&q... (more »)
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