I did not even care about sports because I never made it on a team. In order to stay in Athletics my eighth grade year, I had to be on at least two sport teams at my Middle School. I tried out for Volleyball and Basketball, but did not even make the first cut. Next, I tried out for Soccer and Tennis. I made it on the team for both of them! At the beginning of the soccer season I excelled as a defensive player. Somewhere in the season I was backup offense; meaning I had to do more conditioning than I used to. We only lost one game during our run to the championship finals. For the championship game we had to play the school we lost to, which was also the main rival to my school. A week before our championship we lost our goalie due to a leg injury that would heal in six to nine weeks. Someone on the team had to step up and be our next goalie, however no one wanted that pressure. My coach decided who would be the goalie. Low and behold I was chosen to be the goalie. To this day, I still do not know why she chose me. Imagine, eighth grade year toward midterm exams and now I have to start practicing catching soccer balls with my hands while this whole time I have been practicing with my legs. Not to mention I am only five feet. I only had a week of practicing as a goalie. During this week I my coach telling me, “It's okay if you mess up, the team will help carry you and we'll win as a team.” My Dad on the other hand, was telling me, “The whole season is on you; you determine if your team wins or loses.” Along with my own thoughts, my head was spinning. Many bumps, bruises and midterms later, it was our final game day. On the bus to the school, the team was doing the usual, pregame chanting to the top of their lungs. While I was sitting by myself, plugged into my earbuds trying to think. “Is it too late for me to quit?”, “Can my team still carry me?”, “Can I do this?”, “Do I have to be here?”. My mind was engulfed in negative thoughts. We arrived at the school. The game started and defense did a very great job keeping the ball away from me. I was able to punt the ball a few times or throw it as far down as I could to any of my teammates. The entire game offense and defense excelled, resulting in the score being zero to zero. We went straight to a shootout, five players get a shot to score a goal. One player from each team would alternate until all ten shots. We made two shots and vise versa. Now it is two to two; the last shot was the other team. The person who kicked the ball was the other team's goalie. She kicked the ball extremely hard, I stepped to my right and caught it…WE WON! Everyone on my team went crazy, they all ran up to me and hugged me all at once. I did not know how to react. I was in total shock. I thought, “Did that really just happen?” We actually won, coach was very pleased with how we all did. All those negative thoughts I had just flushed out of my mind. I was just surprised I pulled that off. This was the pinnacle of my soccer career. Having two very important people encourage me in different ways really made me think differently. I learned how to juggle around more than I ever have, along with juggling my own opposing thoughts in my head. Feeling others emotions compelled my emotions to explode. I felt lost and I did not know how to fix myself for the sake of the team, coach and my Dad. I can recall the exact emotions I was feeling during the whole game. Regret, relief, and a whole rollercoaster of emotions that I will never forget.
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