It felt like there was an anvil on my chest. The pressure was enormous. I had never been so nervous in my life. But I had to do it. It was our only chance. No stalling, no waiting, or taking the back seat. I had to go it was my turn. I had to make it, I needed to make, and I wanted to make it. My team was relying on me. I thought it was all up to me, but I was wrong.
Freshman year in high school I played soccer for the junior varsity and varsity teams. I loved it and had so much fun. However, the season came with losses. A lot of them too. Despite the win/loss record all teams make the playoffs. We played another team for a play in game. I had come off the bench in the varsity game. Only to stay on the field for the rest off the game. I thought to myself. “Okay, I’m in, I’m excited, we’re going to win the game.” I believed I would be the deciding factor and I was. I need to make a play. Then I did shortly after coming in.
I had dribbled past a defender and was coming in at the goalie. I was so excited and nervous. I had to score to put my team up. I had thought it was all up to me. I was wrong. I had good teammates. They can make plays too. So when I faced the goalie. I knew that I had a teammate on my left. So I passed it to them. And to this day I replay that pass in my head. Except every time I do, I make a good one. That day I shanked the pass and a chance to score. I thought that I had just cost the game. That could have been our only chance to score. I was wrong again. Another opportunity would present itself.
This time it was late in the second half and the game was at a stand still. Neither team had scored. I had been playing hard and doing what I could do to help. I made a pass to a teammate and made a move. Then that teammate had taken a shot. This shot was beautiful it went exactly where he wanted it too. However, the goalie made a terrific save. I was standing and thinking. “If only it had gone in, we needed that. Are we ever going to get another chance?
That’s when one was presented right to me. The goalie had slipped on his punt and the ball was rolling at me. I was near midfield but I didn’t care. I was going to score. The ball was rolling at me and I kicked it right back at the goal as hard as I could. As I saw it fly I think I’ve never kicked a ball that far. It looked like a plane taking off. It looked good, the shot that would put us ahead. But the goalie jumped out of nowhere and I made a save. I felt angry and upset. I had just missed out on another golden opportunity. When the whistle blew shortly after. Signalling the end of the game.
We played an intense overtime. Each team was presented with few chances. We did everything we could and so did they. For what seemed like an endless 10 minutes. Still knotted up at the end of overtime, so it was on to penalty kicks. Coach needed to pick five of us. He rattled of two names and then he said mine. I was so shocked. I remember thinking. “Me, I’m five foot and hardly 100 pounds. What can I do?” My thoughts quickly changed to. “Coach chose me for a reason, I know I can do this.” When the referee asked for our order to kick I was second on it. A teammate had lined up his kick. When it was kicked it looked like a bullet being shot it was going so fast. However the goalie was faster. The goalie made the save and we went down to a quick 0-1 when they made it.
I was next and I realized that this was huge for us. Either I tie it 1-1 or have the potential to go down 0-2. The pressure truly felt like an anvil, crushing me into the ground. But I needed to go and score too. I had lined up my kick and I was filled with nervousness and excitement. I could only think of the cheers that I would hear after I made it. After I kicked I didn’t hear a single one. I had put it to far to the right and it missed. I was so upset. Tears filled in my eyes and I thought. “Is our season over now? Did the seniors just play their last game because I missed?” And I was right we went on to lose 1-3 and our season had ended.
I was mad and angry at myself. Despite my teammates missing their opportunities, I pinned the loss on me. I thought that it was my fault our season was over and the seniors wouldn’t play another game. I went and apologized to them. But they said “You don’t need to say sorry. You played good and it’s just a game it’s not as important as other things.” Finally I got it. I had been playing to win the whole time when I should have been playing to have fun just like them. At the age I am I should’ve realized that I should enjoy the game first and then the wins will come.