I'm Still Working on my Dribbling
As we were jogging towards the soccer field, I was surprised by how many people were already in the audience. As we ran into the field, we got into a line to warm-up our kicking. As each of us kicked the ball towards the goalie, I took a quick glance toward the opposing team on the other side of the field. It seemed like most of them were twice my size, which was a little intimidating. The way they controlled the ball and the distance that they kicked it made them look older than they actually were, when the truth was that all of us were still in middle school. Even after our practice drills and exercise warm-ups, I was still a bit intimidated by their size and skills. And since I was one of the tiniest players in the team, I had to be careful and come up with a strategy.
As our warm-ups and practice drills came to and end, it was time for the coin toss to decide which team would get the ball first. The coin landed flat on heads, so that meant the other team got to start with the ball. Once the referee blew the whistle, the opposing team started dribbling the ball towards us with intensive speed. Since I was on defense, I predicted the ball wouldn’t come bouncing too often towards me, since the forwards would most likely stop it. But was I wrong! Our opponents were controlling the ball very well; sweeping it through our players own feet, playing soccer tricks around each of them, getting closer and closer to me. As the opposing player with the ball ran in front of me, I dived in for the ball and managed to kick it out of his feet! While I started running forward with the ball, I didn’t notice a player running up to me from the side, and the next thing I knew I turned around and saw the guy who took the ball away from me deliver a kick to the ball, which resulted in a goal.
As time went on, we kept the game at a steady pace, while still managing to keep the score at 1-0. Sooner or later, halftime rolled by. After our team jogged out of the field, we gathered around as a group while drinking some cool water and Gatorade, and sitting down to discuss how the game is going so far. As our coach gave us our usual “halftime speech” my friend leaned in and whispered to my ear, “What happened Marco? You’re defense! The only thing you needed to do is kick the ball back to another teammate; not try to trick everyone on the other team by yourself.” Looking up at my friend, I took a sip of my Gatorade, smiled, and responded, “I don’t know what got into me buddy, but for that second as I was dribbling the ball down the field, I felt very energetic…like if I could take the ball across the field and pass it to someone on my own.. And even though I’m still working on my dribbling, I’m still up for trying out new techniques as a defense, so I could put a little more excitement into the game!” Saying that, we all ran back to the field and started with the second half. With everyone working together, passing the ball to each other as much as we could, and kicking it away from the goalie, we were able to score a goal and end the game with a tie.
While driving back home with my parents, my dad asked when our next game is going to be. I responded with, “Next week! We’re going to play against our school rivals, and no matter how hard we try, every year we keep loosing to them!” Surprised, my dad asked how often our team had soccer practice, and I responded with, “Once per week; but even with that, their forwards still manage to get past me and the rest of the defenders.” As the car stopped on a red light, my dad turned his head back to me and said, “I’ve seen you play Marco, and you can trust me when I say that you’re a really good player. If you stay motivated and continue practicing, you will become better and better each time!” Saying this, the traffic light turned back to green, so my dad pressed on the pedal and drove off towards home. As I got out of the car, I stayed with my uniform on, went to my backyard and started dribbling the ball in the air with my feet. As my dad looked at me from the back door, smiling, I told him, “It’s never too early to start practicing!” With a laugh, my dad ran over to me as we started dribbling the ball to each other until it was time to eat dinner, while keeping my ball in my room for later.