“Michael, pass the ball!” roared Coach Reiley at the sidelines. Momentarily, I looked up from the ball which is sticking to my feet as if it was glued. Surrounding me, the thousands of voracious supporters shouted and cheered, cajoling me to go on; at the sidelines, Coach Reiley was waving fanatically, the index finger of his left hand pointing to the three players in front of me. I glanced at the three forwards of my team, they are there waiting for my pass.
Suddenly, in front of me I noticed two bull of a player charging me down ready for the kill. The sliding tackle came from the first bull a slight fraction of a second after I jimmied the ball to my left, expertly making a fool of him, leaving him sprawled in the middle of the field like a big crying baby. The crowd roared with joy. The second bull, aware of the embarrassment suffered from his mate, was determined not to by the same trick. He continued to hound me, dogging my way as I tried to escape from his clutches. I smiled. With a sudden burst of speed and all the strength my stocky frame could muster, I muscle my way through him and sprinted towards the goal.
Subconsciously I could still hear the frantic roar of “pass the ball!” by Coach Reiley and saw the red coloured socks of my teammates jostling and running for positions in front of me anticipating the pass. And then it happened. The vision of next week’ school newspaper reverberating with screaming head line ‘Captain seals famous win with wonder goal’ flashed into my headspace. It will be my moment of glory and redemption for the horror miss last month. With my remaining energy, I surged forward, with the opposing goal nearer by seconds. I out-jumped another tackle, out-maneuvered a block and was now at the far corner of the penalty box, with only the goalkeeper in my path. Ignoring my teammates in better positions to score, I took aim at the far corner of the goal, held my breath and give the ball an almighty kick.
“Goal!” the crowd shouted – a second too soon. The ball flew pass the despairing hands of the goalkeeper, hit the goalpost and trickled to the wrong side of the net.
Silence vibrated throughout the stadium. I felt the ground give way below me, and a sinking feeling starting to grow inside me. I failed to score and the team was out of the competition. The despair was too much to bear. I felt to my knees and tears started to pour. “It is not supposed to be like this,” I kept muttering to myself. “It ain’t supposed to end like this… fairytales always have a happy ending…”