The Commitment I Carry | Teen Ink

The Commitment I Carry

October 9, 2019
By Anonymous

As the referee prepares the ball on the line and I struggle to catch my breath, I ponder. What will be my opponent's move? What tactic shall he use? Will I have the speed to win the clamp and victoriously sweep the ball out from the center of our little midfield arena? Or will I exhaustedly stutter at the whistle and miss the gap of time before his stick traps the ball in his net against the dirt? Set… TWEET! The referee’s whistle screams. Our sidewalls lock and we turn, grinding up grass and dirt in our cleats. We fight to get to the ball as if it’s turkey at a Thanksgiving feast.

I am committed. I am committed to my friends and family to be the best person that I can be. I am committed to my education so that I can better prepare myself for the future and become disciplined. And I am dedicated to my extracurricular activities such as Boy Scouts and especially my favorite sport, lacrosse. My commitment for lacrosse has been a huge part of my life. I have made many memories at lacrosse related events with friends. Also, I have played for over 4 years now and it has been an overall awesome experience. While my commitment to lacrosse is great, it is also something that can be difficult for me to hold on to. My commitment to lacrosse can be hard for me to carry sometimes because of how underdeveloped my team is.

My story is about a home game we had against Saline, a well organized team. The whole day at school I can feel the uneasiness in my stomach. Saline is a top five team this year, losing to only teams known from far and wide. The Bedford lacrosse team on the other hand, we are not known to be so great. It doesn’t help that we only usually have about 14 eligible players per game. At around 4:30, I get dropped off at the Indian Creek field. The gate is swung wide open. Boys, carrying long bags of gear, step over stones and onto concrete. The concrete path runs through grass all the way over to old aging bleachers. The rails all have paint chipping with rusted iron beneath. Directly behind these tall bleachers is a large grey press box. Inside the brick building are dark rooms, each with one window that can be opened to face the field. The smell of hotdogs and popcorn fills the building. Right next to the bleachers is a short black fence, the only separation that players and parents have. Fresh grass with decorated in lines. There are three circles. One in the middle of the field, and two more wrapped around the orange squares tended by goalies. The other side of the field is where I am headed, to the players bench. My new red and black cleats look spotless as I trudge through the grass. They feel as though they might be cutting off circulation but I know it will only be a short while before I break into them. I wear low red socks and my game uniform. My uniform consists of a vivid pair of red shorts, which have a digital patterned stripe on the sides, and a fresh white jersey that fits a little too loosely on me. My helmet and the rest of my pads are still in my bag, which I carry from the uncomfortable black strap, hanging on my right shoulder. The churning in my stomach makes me nervous and gives the feeling to just leave and quit. But I won’t, and I never will. My team needs me. I might not be super skillful, but I know while I’m out on the field, one of my teammates will be recovering at the bench to come back in the rough game with one hundred and ten percent. So rather than walk right out of the gates, I stay and get geared up. We receive a forty minute countdown warning. This is our time to warm-up.

As we run through our warmups, my team and I check out the opposers. Every player on the varsity Saline team can make a crisp pass to each other. It is a beauty, their passes. They firmly swing their stick with what seems like no effort. The front of the stick lurches forward just for the ball to roll out from the top, as if gravity is reversed. And just as swiftly as the stick lurches forward it pulls back. As the ball flies through the air, it is easy to see the receiver's arms moving the stick from muscle memory perfectly. He doesn’t wait for the ball. Running towards it, the receiver protects the ball as it softly lands in the sticks pocket by moving it the same way as the ball. They are all taller than me and they can handle the ball with finesse. The only weakness I notice is the inability of their goalie to stop every shot, which would be a good thing if we could pass their defense.

Before I know it, warmup time ends. We listen to the national anthem and get pumped up. The starting lineup is out on the field and I stand on the sidelines. Suddenly, a wave of chills goes over me and instantly goosebumps cover me. I can’t tell if it was a breeze that caused it though. It only takes but a minute for Saline to score. I can feel the game dragging already. 

At halftime we’re down by ten and really in the dumps. I am exhausted from running straight back to defense countless times after my team loses possession. The sun has already gone down for the most part and the lights are already on. All the players on my team have created a semi-circle around my offensive coach. Everyone of us is taking large breaths. We all lay on the ground clutching bruised flesh and sore tendons. Passing the water bottles around, my teammates quench their thirst. My coach gives us a pep talk about how we need to make a difference. “A win for us isn’t judged by the scoreboard, it’s about how we feel after the game.” Holding a whiteboard that was too wet for him to write on, my coach looks into our eyes with a hopeful but stern glare. After a while of chewing on my neon green mouthguard and pondering what my coach said, I get up and pass a ball with Tyler Bross. I decide I am not nervous about this game’s outcome. For the remainder of the game I play as hard as ever. I won a couple faceoffs and that made me feel really proud of myself, even if those possessions didn’t turn into goals. We end the game 2-23. All we could say was that we did better than last year. 

Practice was rough the day after that. Our coaches challenged us by drilling us on what we did badly, which was practically everything. Staying committed, I made it through the practice just like I made it through the game. Our schedule was like a roller coaster. We played either really easy teams or more difficult teams like skyline. Whatever the next problem is, whether it is the easy team of Clay, or a team like Saline, my commitment that I carry will lead me through it like the tip of a sword into battle.

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