Nervous Breakdown
Kelsey, Age 14, Washington, USA

It was a sunny morning in the middle of August. My mom woke me up with the smell of bacon, eggs, toast, and juice drifting through the house. What a perfect day, I thought! I heard my mom say, "Good morning, ready for your big game today?"

Then it hit me: I remembered I had my championship soccer game today!

The nervousness started to get to me as if I was going to take a life threatening risk. The drive in the car heading to the championship was horrible, first I had to get a "talk," from my Dad explaining that I need to take charge and be aggressive just like a cougar eyeing it's prey. I don't think I've ever been so nervous in my life because this game meant a lot to me. It didn't help to hear there was going to be scouts at my game.

Not only did I get a pep talk from my Dad, my whole team got one too from our coach. His talk didn't need to be very long because we knew what we had to do! We started moving around to get our blood circulating; little by little my nerves just seemed to float away. I looked across the field where the rival team was warming up. They looked sharp and very intimidating, but I knew I couldn't let that get to me. We are warmed up and ready to go now, next things next, "The kick off!"

My heart was beating so fast I thought it would eventually thump its way out of my body. Waiting for the whistle to blow seemed like it took forever! I was ready to go and wanted to start the game. The whistle blew with both teams scattering everywhere to get the ball.

By the end of the game, the score was 0-0 tie. I was thinking in my mind how I could make a difference out on the field, what moves should I do to get around an opponent, all of these questions to be answered with no time to answer them. We did our "Gooooooo Strikers" chant and we were off to overtime. Soon the whistle blew again and the overtime was finished with still a 0-0 tie. It was hard to believe but we went into double overtime. The crowds were chanting so loud I couldn't even hear my coach telling advice when he was standing right next to me. Can you guess what happened next? We prepared for penalty kicks!

I felt as if I was going to faint. I could not be under this much pressure, but I had to get through it because after all, itís just a game, right? I was making such a big deal about me being nervous. I canít even imagine what my goalie was going through; she's the one that had to go one on one with 11 people on our rival team. Strikers ahead by one goal, it's my turn now.

I run up from the middle of the field to the penalty kick line. This was it, either I make it or I don't. I set the ball on a patch of grass that was slightly taller than the rest and got into my kicking position. I waited for the whistle to be blown; standing there staring into the keeper's eyes that were intense and determined. The whistle blew; I ran up to the ball and kicked it with all of my might. You could call this soccer ball a "fireball," because it went so fast. Right over the keeperís hands but over the cross bar too. I had missed the goal completely! I ran off the field looking as sad as the look on a little boy's face when his dog just died.

Even though I was depressed for the next couple of days, the Sumner Strikers came out with a victory! We went and celebrated at Dairy Queen and I now have learned a whole new meaning as to what pressure and nervousness mean!


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