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It was halftime and we were losing…by a lot.
My team and I brought our sweaty and out of breathe selves towards our frustrated coach. He didn’t look happy, but neither did we. Even though he hadn’t shown any sign of pride in our undefeated season, we knew he cared. Or at least we thought so. We knew behind those beady eyes and verbal language lay a sincere heart, but not tonight.
“What the hell do you guys think you’re doing?” he demanded.
Heck if I know.
No one said a word, so he turned his glare on me. I was the captain after all, but it felt like all words and living was drenched out of me. I had no answer.
“What happened to that team I had all season long? Because I am not seeing those girls out here tonight!” he barked.
I could feel the tears coming, but I mange to hold them back, knowing that would do me no good.
“Don’t disappoint me tonight of all nights girls,” he whispered.
For a second there, my soft spoken, sincere coach was back, but he vanished as fast he’d come.
“Stay on your girl,” he managed to spit out.
He started to cough.
“Passing is the key. Don’t hog the ball,” he continued.
“We try, but no one’s open,” one of my teammates said.
“Then make yourselves OPEN!” he screamed.
One of the girls started to cry and I could feel everyone slowly turning to look at me. They were waiting for my advice.
Here goes nothing…
“Look guys, I know we’re not doing so hot, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to lose hope-“
“Haven’t you glanced at the score?” one of my teammates asked.
I looked up, managed to see the 12 to 32 score without bursting into tears and continued to speak.
“Yes, I did, but tonight the score doesn’t matter, because in the end it’s your skill that stands out,” I took a deep breath, “I don’t care if we lose this game, but what I do care about is the experience and fun we’ve shared this season. I realize this is our last game, which comes with a lot of different pressures, but only working together as a TEAM will raise our score.”
Suddenly everyone looked just a little bit more calm, more exited to get on the court, and most importantly, ready to show the opposite team what we were made off.
“Ames on three.” I screamed.
“1, 2, 3, AMES!” everyone in our team shouted.
Before we went off to play, our coach came up to us.
“Win or lose girls, it’s been a pleasure being your coach,” he said.
My team and I exchanged glances. And for the first time that season, our coach smiled.
The whistle blew and it was game on!