Mr Jockers P. 8
The Final Game
It was the second to last game of the season. My last middle school season ever. We were playing Newtown, a somewhat evenly matched team to us. We step on the field leaving the nerves on the side lines. Me and Liv do our ritual, our little good luck hand shank. It was the semi finals after all, we needed all the luck we could get. I lined up for the draw, the girl on the other team was easily three inches taller than me. No matter, I tell myself, I got this. The ref cracked a cringy joke to lighten the mood. Didnt work, only left us with uneasy awkward silence. “Ready?” The ref asks. “Yep” I mutter. “Yes.” The girl on the other team whispers. “Tweet!!” The sound of my whistle pierces my ear. The ball flies in the air and I catch it with ease. “Thank God ” I say to myself, feeling slightly relieved. I bolt down the field and make a clean pass to Stephanie who slides it to Hanna, our attackman, who scores. “Nice pass!” I exclaim to Stephanie. Who gives me a thumbs up. I was more than happy to have the starting lead. After all, the first goal sets the tone for the rest of the game. I trot down the field and go to take the draw again….The rest of the game seems almost a blur and before I know it it’s half time. The score is 5-2. A solid lead is just what we need. The sideline is lively with girls laughing and squirting water on each other. While we listen to our coach drone on about how we need to stay hydrated. Liv stuffs an orange in her mouth and grins. I started dying of laughter, I feel almost at ease for once. We take the field once again, I immediately feel the aggression and drive of the opposing team. I know they’re gunning for us and want a shot at the finals. We line up on the draw once again. The girl on the other team gives me a dirty look. I ignore her and look at Ava across the center circle. She gives me a little “You got this!” nod. The whistle blows and the ball flies up in the sky. Ava catches it and bolts down the field. After lots of passes,cuts,shots and turnovers. A girl on the other team named Riley, which I gathered her name after all the cheering after she scored. Tying the game with 30 seconds to go. There is a brief time out and we learn that it’s sudden death elimination. The first team to score wins. The amount of anxiety I felt as I walked on the field to take the draw can only be described as astronomical. I had so many people counting on me and didn’t want to let them down. But at the same time there were so many questions going through my mind. Like, “How could we let this happen?” and “What if we don’t make it to the finals?” The whistle blows and the girl on the other team behind me catches it and races down the field. She tries to score but our defenders block her, and get shooting space called. (Quite possibly the most frustrating rule in women’s lacrosse, for defenders.) Shooting space is a free shot a player gets when a defender gets in her way, which kind of defeats the purpose of having defenders. But I don’t make the rules. The player takes the hash on the 8 meter circle. And I can see the fear in Sofias eyes. (Our goalie) You can feel the tension in the air when the whistle blows. The girl steps forward and shoots in the top left corner, right past Sofia. I feel my stomach drop to the floor and think I might cry. We all rally around Sofia and try to cheer her up, after all it’s not only her fault it’s all of ours that’s part of being a team. As we lined up to say good game my team held our heads high and all I could think is after nine years this is it? Hundreds of practices and games. Blood sweat and tears and were done like that? We pulled it together for one final “Relax on 3” and that was the end of my Relax career.